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Campus Life Center FAQ

The frequently asked questions (FAQ) below provide responses to the most common inquiries on the Campus Life Center (CLC) project. This FAQ will be updated periodically, along with other sources of information on the CLC, as the project moves forward. For additional information, you may also want to take a look at our news page or the DUC-ling FAQ.



Q. What is the Campus Life Center project?

The Campus Life Center is a major construction project that will replace much of the existing Dobbs University Center (DUC). The project is a partnership between Campus Life and Campus Services.


Q. What research was conducted prior to the decision to build the Campus Life Center?

In August 2013, Emory Campus Life launched the Dobbs University Center and Multipurpose Center Feasibility Study, with the assistance of the architecture and design firm Perkins+Will. The eight-month study focused on renovating and expanding the Dobbs University Center (DUC). Completed in 2014, the study proposed the most extensive changes to the existing structure since 1986.


Q. What did the feasibility study find?

“When it was built, the Dobbs University Center was the right solution; but it was created for a different population in a different era,” according to the Dobbs University Center and Multipurpose Center Feasibility Study.

Recommendations from the study call for preserving the original Alumni Memorial University Center (AMUC) or "East DUC." However, the study pointed out, the "West DUC" (the 1982 Portman Building addition) "functions poorly and is considered visually unfriendly and aesthetically antithetical to the elegance of Emory University's campus architectural character."

Q. Where does the Portman Building end and the Alumni Memorial University Center begin?

The Portman Building begins with the plaza and front entrance to the DUC that face the Woodruff Physical Education Center (WPEC) and extends to the Coca-Cola Commons. It includes, among other spaces, the post office, Eagle Convenience store, Dobbs Market, and Winship Ballroom. The AUMC building begins where the Coca-Cola Commons meets the marble steps up to Theater Emory and extends to the various offices and other spaces located beyond.

Q. Who provided input on plans for the new facility?

Plans for the Campus Life Center are the product of an extremely thorough process based on input from thousands of students, staff, faculty, trustees, and other Emory stakeholders. During most of 2014-15, opportunities to provide feedback were available to the entire Emory community through open meetings, online access, committee engagement, and public display of competing architectural models. Stakeholders have continued to be engaged in the planning process throughout design development, including presentations and feedback sessions for students, faculty, staff, and alumni.


Q. How was an architectural firm selected to design the new facility?

In March 2015, Emory Campus Life hosted an on-campus public exhibit of design concepts, models, and drawings by five architectural firms. Based on hundreds of comments from Emory students, staff, and faculty, the design concepts that most appealed to the campus community were those of the Durham, North Carolina-based firm of Duda/Paine Architects with support from MHTN Architects of Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Based on the firm’s strong sense of creativity and professionalism, excellent communications skills, and in-depth understanding of Emory, Duda/Paine was selected to take the lead in creating the new campus center.


Q. Why build a new campus center?

The new Campus Life Center will bring fresh energy as an innovative nexus for student, staff, and faculty engagement, as well as collaboration and community building. It will provide an environment that fosters inclusivity and engagement. 

According to the campus feasibility study, the need for change is driven not only by growing space demands, but a desire for larger, more flexible and efficient dining services, technology and infrastructure upgrades, and more room for student organizations and gathering spaces.


Q. What does the planned construction of the Campus Life Center encompass?

Plans for the CLC are rooted in a desire to enhance Emory’s learning community by creating an easy-to-navigate space that is welcoming to all, centralizes resources, promotes collaboration, and unites Campus Life services with student organizations and lounge spaces. The new facility will:

  • Enable community members to share resources and spaces for collaboration and team building.
  • Support production of events large enough to include an entire undergraduate class.
  • Provide innovative morning-to-late-night dining that values health and variety. 
  • Co-locate Campus Life departments with student organizations and feature associated lounge space.
  • Incorporate meeting space flexible in size and in the variety of activities it supports.
  • Project a uniquely Emory image and character that respects and enhances the campus aesthetic.

Q. Why not just renovate the West DUC?

The feasibility study and current design concepts call for removal of the West DUC, also called the Portman Building, where noise levels within the tiers are not conducive to community building, meetings, or informal gatherings in the Coca-Cola Commons.

In addition, when considering the maintenance and repair costs for the existing DUC or renovating the existing space, Emory decided that the best use of resources is to invest in a newly designed space that meets the university’s current and projected future needs.


Q. Will any of the West DUC remain?

The campus feasibility study calls for tearing down the Portman (West DUC) Building and creating a new structure in its place, while preserving the East DUC, including the Alumni Memorial University Center and its marble façade.


Q. How much new space is gained in the design concept for the CLC?

The preliminary design concept represents approximately 132,000 gross square feet, a gain of about 61,000 gross square feet for Campus Life programming.


Q. How many ballrooms and/or meeting rooms will the CLC house?

Plans for the CLC include a ballroom space that will accommodate 1,600 people for single theater-style events. To support more flexible use of all space, the large event space can be segmented into smaller meeting rooms, as needed. Smaller conference rooms also will be located throughout the building.


Q. Will plans to separate and uncover the historic East DUC create challenges?

There is historic and aesthetic value to the East DUC, soon to be returned to its original name, the Alumni Memorial University Center (AMUC). Re-exposing the marble façade will be done with care. During the design phase, the implications of separating the East DUC from the West DUC were studied. Additional enabling and phasing work will be required as part of the project.


Q. How long will the project take?

The current timetable for completing construction is summer 2019. However, the timetable could change, depending on fundraising for the project. 


Q. What are the various phases of the CLC project? 

The phases of the CLC project, which mirror those of the typical capital project process, are:

  1. Project Idea Inception
  2. Feasibility Study
  3. Feasibility Study Review
  4. Program Document
  5. Consultation Selection
  6. Schematic Design
  7. Design Development
  8. Construction Documents
  9. Construction
  10. Substantial Completion/Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment Installation
  11. Move-in 

For more detail, see the Capital Project Process on the Campus Services site.


Q. How will the Emory community know what's happening during the process?

You can sign-up for the CLC newsletter here. Look for a range of updates and other communications from Emory Campus Life at key milestones throughout the planning and construction process.


Q. What will happen to Dobbs Market during construction? Where will we eat meals?

Dobbs Market will be displaced during construction by the “DUC-ling,” a temporary facility that the university is building to replace it. For more information about the DUC-ling, please visit the DUC-ling FAQ. Other campus dining locations will be unaffected.


Q. Where will student organization storage be relocated?

Temporary locations for student organization storage are being determined.


Q. What will happen to employees who work in the DUC?

No staffing changes are planned during construction. Staff will be assigned to temporary locations as appropriate.


Q. What programs, departments, and services will be displaced, and where will they go?

Several departments will be temporarily displaced. For example, dining will be located in the temporary DUC-ling facility.  Winship Ballroom will close and events normally held there will be relocated throughout campus during construction. Temporary locations for other departments are being determined.


Q. Where will the offices that are now in the DUC be relocated during demolition and construction?

The SGA business office is the only Campus Life office affected by the demolition of the DUC west wing. It will move to the 4th floor of the Alumni Memorial University Center (AMUC). 


Q. Will the theater remain in the DUC?

Yes. Theater Emory will remain in the Alumni Memorial University Center.


Q. Will the new facility still be called the DUC?

The current working title for the new building is the Campus Life Center. The permanent and official name of the building is to be determined.

Q: Will my preferred meeting room in the Dobbs University Center (DUC) be available when I need it? What meeting facilities will no longer be available and starting when? 

All meeting rooms in the West Wing of the Dobbs University Center, including Winship Ballroom and the Coke Commons, will close to reservations after May 8, 2017. Asbury Circle, McDonough Field, and other outdoor reservable spaces may experience limited closures based on construction. These closures will be posted on the Campus Life Center (CLC) website and reflected in the Meeting Services reservation system as they are confirmed. Asbury Circle may have intermittent lane blockages, which will be posted on the CLC website.

Q: What departments, offices, and staffs are moving to the CLC?

These departments, offices, and associated staff will move into the CLC when it is completed in summer 2019:

  • Student Involvement, Leadership, and Transitions
  • Belonging and Community Justice
  • Civic and Community Engagement
  • Social Justice Education
  • Sorority and Fraternity Life
  • University Center
  • Student Government Finance

Q: What is happening to the Centro Latino?

The Centro Latino is moving to a temporary location in the Alumni Memorial University Center (AMUC), room 116. At the completion of CLC construction, the Centro will remain in the AMUC but may move to a new permanent location.

Q: What sustainability innovations will be present in the CLC?

The CLC will be the first university building to generate energy via geothermal capture. The building will also have photo-voltaic cells on the roof which will capture solar energy to generate hot water. Other sustainability efforts include exclusive use of LED lighting, extensive sensor placement to assist with climate control, and food waste controls.

Q: How will the CLC be more accessible?

The CLC will be compliant with ADA standards and also incorporate several universal design principles in regard to interior design and layout, audio/visual technology, and gender inclusivity.

Q: What will happen to spaces vacated by departments that are leaving the Alumni Memorial University Center (AMUC)?

Emory Campus Life is developing a plan to study the options for programming space vacated in the AMUC by the opening of the CLC in 2019, this study will include feedback from stakeholders and the community. More information will be forthcoming.

Q: Will there be a different food service provider in the DUC-ling and new CLC?

Emory University’s current food service provider, Bon Appétit, will be the university’s partner in operating the DUC-ling and opening the CLC.