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Board Approves New Home for Nicholas

Board Approves New Home for Nicholas

Trustees also approve water reclamation pond, set tuition and fees for 2012-13 academic year

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water reclamation pond
A proposed water reclamation pond will save the university 100 million gallons of water a year.

Durham, NC - Duke University's Board of Trustees on Friday approved the construction of Duke Environment Hall, a 70,000-square-foot building that will serve as the new home of the Nicholas School of the Environment. Groundbreaking is expected in late April, with building completion by summer 2013.

Plans call for a five-story, glass-and-concrete building that incorporates the highest sustainable features and technologies, and meets or exceeds the criteria for LEED platinum certification.

The trustees also gave the go-ahead for a large-scale, water reclamation pond on the fringe of West Campus. Instead of using water from the city of Durham's drinking water supply, Duke will pump water from the six-acre pond to one of Duke's nearby chilled water plants to produce chilled water for cooling and dehumidifying campus and medical buildings. Duke officials expect the initiative will save about 100 million gallons of potable water a year.

The new Environment Hall will be adjacent to the "A" wing of the LSRC, the Nicholas School's current home, and will include classrooms, computer labs and offices for faculty and administration, as well as an environmental art gallery.

Incorporated into the new building will be advanced technologies such as a green roof, solar hot water and photovoltaic systems, greywater and rainwater recycling for toilets and irrigation, and natural lighting. Other sustainable features include a chilled beam system for air conditioning and a thermal corridor that provides natural insulation for offices and laboratories.  The cost of the building is $35 million.

"Duke's Environment Hall will make a bold statement of Duke's commitment to leadership in forging a sustainable environmental future through research, education and practice," said Nicholas School Dean William L. Chameides.

Once completed, the hall will help accommodate the school's growing student population and the need for additional classroom, computer space and common areas. From 2007 to 2011, student matriculation into the school's two-year master of environmental management and master of forestry programs rose more than 50 percent. The increases in students and faculty have dictated that some Nicholas School offices be moved to the North Building until Environment Hall can be built.

The new building will be attached by a walkway to the LSRC, which will allow the school to bring together all elements of its Durham campus-based program under one roof. The school’s Earth and Ocean Sciences Division offices and labs currently are housed in the Old Chemistry building on campus. Plans call for renovating the LSRC A-wing to accommodate the division's wet laboratories.

The Nicholas School also maintains undergraduate, graduate and research programs at the Duke University Marine Lab on the coast in Beaufort, N.C.

Construction of Duke's first large-scale water reclamation pond will occur between Erwin Road and Circuit Drive near Towerview Road. 

The initiative is a significant sustainable step, given that Duke is the largest water customer in Durham and the project will save approximately 100 million gallons of potable water a year, said Tallman Trask III, Duke's executive vice president.

"In the years following this area's historic drought, Duke has continued to innovate and find ways to conserve a precious resource," Trask said.

Construction on the $9 million reclamation pond is scheduled to begin in spring 2013 and will take about a year to complete. The pond will sit on a tree-filled, 12-acre site that, when complete, will include amenities such as a pavilion, bridge, boardwalk, walking paths and amphitheater with lawn seating.

The site earmarked for the pond is now wooded with a shallow streambed. Duke will work with state and federal agencies on permits, and its project managers have been consulting with the Duke University Wetland Center to select native plants that thrive at varying pond depths under dry and wet conditions.

Once operational, the pond will collect rainwater and runoff from 22 percent of the main campus area. At standing capacity, the pond will hold about 23 million gallons of water at an 8- to 12-foot depth.

In other business, the trustees approved a 3.9 percent increase in the total cost of attendance (undergraduate tuition, room and board) at Duke for the 2012-13 academic year.  Undergraduate tuition will be $42,308, a 4 percent increase, and the total cost for the next academic year, including tuition, room, board and fees, will be $56,056.

Duke has a longstanding commitment to a need-blind admissions policy, under which the university accepts students without regard to their ability to pay for college and then meets 100 percent of their demonstrated financial need. More than half of all Duke students receive some form of financial assistance from the university:  40 percent receive need-based financial aid, which includes grants, loans and work-study opportunities, and the remainder are beneficiaries of honors, athletics and other scholarship programs. 

In the current year, Duke expects to spend about $120.5 million of institutional funds to support undergraduate financial aid, a 10 percent increase from the previous year, and a 21 percent increase from 2009-2010. Estimates for next year's financial aid costs will not be finalized until later in the year when financial aid packages for new and returning students are completed.

New tuition rates for Duke's graduate and professional schools in 2012-13 have also been set:

-- Divinity School: $19,120, up 3.9 percent over the current year.

-- Fuqua School of Business: $52,900 (daytime MBA), up 5.2 percent.

-- Graduate School: $42,350 (Ph.D. programs), up 4 percent.

-- Law School: $50,750, up 4 percent.

-- Nicholas School of the Environment: $30,700, up 3 percent.

-- Pratt School of Engineering: $42,480 (MEM program), up 4.3 percent.

-- Sanford School of Public Policy: $37,900, up 3.6 percent.

-- School of Medicine: $48,065, up 3.9 percent.

-- School of Nursing: $36,666, up 4.9 percent.

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