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Dobbs University Center makeover studied

By Dena J. Smith | Emory Report | April 19, 2013

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A feasibility study will look at renovating and expanding the Dobbs University Center (DUC) to better meet community needs. Emory Photo/Video.

The Division of Campus Life is conducting a feasibility study that will look at renovating and expanding the Dobbs University Center (DUC), the largest renovation to the structure since 1986.  

The DUC is home to student organizations and meeting spaces, Campus Life offices, mail services and several dining facilities, including the Faculty Dining Room.  

Ben Perlman, director of the DUC, says Emory’s growing community is what makes it necessary to continue to expand the popular, over-utilized space.  

The DUC renovation feasibility study will start this June, says Perlman. "Once the study is complete we’ll move into the design phase after approval from the president’s cabinet members and the Board of Trustees," he says.  

The overall plan is to improve the facilities to better meet community needs while also helping the University reach its goals regarding environmental sustainability, disability access, and inclusion of diverse populations.  

The project also dovetails with recommendations in the recently released report, "Campus Life Compact for Building an Inclusive Community at Emory," to reexamine space needs at Emory to meet the requirements of a diverse student population.

The feasibility study will examine needs for larger and better dining services, flexible meeting space, community space for student organizations, and Campus Life offices that can effectively serve as a gathering space for students and staff.  Some specific goals include:  

  • Increasing the number of meeting spaces for more than 40 people;

  • Upgrading the technology to improve presentations/performances, communication, signage and access control;

  • Redesigning the 600-seat dining facility to accommodate approximately 800-850 seats;

  • Renovating kitchen facilities;

  • Providing additional office space for Campus Life and student organizations;

  • Increasing dedicated student space including lounges, common areas and recreation rooms; and

  • Renovating the physical plant to highlight Emory’s commitment to LEED-certified sustainable and environmentally friendly facilities.

Construction would be phased in over multiple stages so the DUC can be utilized during renovations.