To the Tune of $80 million

Duke Endowment gift to pay for campus renovations


Past due: Built in 1927, Baldwin Auditorium is slated for major improvements.

Past due: Built in 1927, Baldwin Auditorium is slated for major improvements.
Jon Gardiner

An $80 million gift from The Duke Endowment will be used to renovate Baldwin and Page auditoriums and transform the West Campus Union Building. The grant, which will be paid over multiple years, is the largest single philanthropic gift in the university’s history. Construction work is expected to take place in phases, beginning late in 2011 with Baldwin Auditorium.

Baldwin, the focal point of Duke’s East Campus, is the primary rehearsal and performance venue for numerous student ensembles, including the Duke Symphony Orchestra, the Duke Jazz Ensemble, the Duke Chorale, and the Duke Wind Symphony. The renovations will include acoustical improvements, new seats, increased accessibility, and new restrooms.

Page Auditorium is Duke’s largest theater—with a current capacity to accommodate 1,200 people—and has been the site of thousands of performances and lectures since its opening in 1930. The planned renovation will update the interior, seating, acoustics, and backstage and lobby spaces and is intended to meet the needs of student and cultural groups as well as professional concerts, theater and dance productions, and major speakers.

The West Campus Union Building served as the principal student gathering and eating space for more than fifty years, until the opening of the Bryan Center in 1982, though it still houses the popular Great Hall cafeteria and several restaurants. Its interior will be completely remade to create new informal social spaces for students and accommodate new dining facilities.

Duke officials are developing plans to provide dining services and relocate existing programs and activities during the renovations, which are expected to take several years.

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