History & Timeline

Duke is planning to develop its 200 acre Central Campus in phases over a 20- to 50-year period. Redeveloping Central Campus was initially viewed as a way primarily to replace existing housing. Then in 2005 university programming committees outlined a broader vision including a significant academic component. The new Central Campus is intended to better connect the East and West campuses, both physically and programmatically.

The primary existing use of Central Campus is about 540 student apartments, located between Anderson and Oregon Streets along Erwin Road, that primarily house undergraduate seniors. The University acquired the property in the late 1960s, an area formerly occupied by Erwin Mills' workers housing. The garden apartment complex, completed in 1972, was designed to accommodate married students with children.


  • In January, completed exterior work on existing Central Campus apartments, including roof and siding repairs and updated exterior paint scheme


  • In the fall, opened the Mill Village including a new Uncle Harry's Store and Devil's Bistro.
  • In May, the Board of Trustees heard a planning update from the Facilities and Environment Committee including the possibility of realigning Campus Drive to create a larger contiguous buildable site.


  • In the fall, a study began regarding the potential realignment of Campus Drive.
  • In response to the economic downturn, planning for New Campus will continue, but construction deferred indefinitely.


  • In October, the Board of Trustees reviewd scope and concept for a Phase 1 along Campus Drive.
  • In March, members of the Duke and Durham community were invited to learn more about the general design for the campus expansion. Click here to listen to an audio recording of that meeting.
  • In early March, board approval of the master plan design by Pelli Clarke Pelli architects



  • In November 2006, Green Order conducted a review of the sustainability plan for the Central Campus Planning
  • The Board of Trustees approved the Phase I development concept plan in September 2006. Elkus-Manfredi Architects assisted in the development of that plan.
  • September Community Meeting
  • March Community meeting


  • In the fall of 2005, two architectural firms were hired to begin translating broad principles and program elements into an approach for Phase I development. Architects Elkus-Manfredi and Ayers Saint Gross refined the Phase I master plan to orient buildings to open space and to attend to issues of environmentally sustainable design.
  • May Community Meeting
  • April Academic Council Meeting
  • February Community Meeting
  • In the spring of 2005, Provost Peter Lange (the university's chief academic officer) and Kemel Dawkins, vice president for campus services, began leading the internal planning process for the first phase. Five university subcommittees were charged to identify and evaluate options for housing and dining, academic programs, extracurricular activities and spaces, transportation, parking & security, and community relations


  • In summer 2004, Duke decided to postpone early planning for primarily residential needs for one year and undertake a review of campus programmatic needs.
  • Initial public meeting with the community regarding Central Campus planning in March 2004.


  • The Campus Master Plan, which was presented to Durham City Council in March 2000 and approved by Duke's Board of Trustees in May 2000, included reference to future changes to Central Campus.