2/3/2010 More, new dorm for Keohane Quad K4

Here's Fact Checker's idea now that we have our first numbers on the cost of this. 150 beds. $20 million. Not counting the land of course which we already own.

That's $133,333 per bed. Why don't we forget the dorm and put up $500,000 houses for four students. We'd save bundle and the students would love it!!!!

OK Fellow Dukies, let's get serious. The numbers do not add up.

Let's start with a room in an old dorm. Duke just about breaks even -- using the numbers it provides for auxiliary services like housing in the annual financial report. Your housing fees must cover electric, heat, air conditioning, snow removal, painting, buying mattresses, housekeeping, routine maintenance, landscaping. There are a lot of expenses, and we are not even able to salt anything away for capital improvements, like those urgently needed in Crowell and Craven Quads.

Let's look at the new K4 dorm. In addition to all those expenses, we're being told that the housing fees will also pay the interest for this building.

Let's see. $20 million, borrowed at 4 percent, which is my estimate based upon the latest Duke bonds sold, divided by 150 people living there, works out to $5,333 Let's figure this out together. Let's assume we are able to borrow the money at 4 percent interest. Each bed will be responsible for $5,333 a year in interest.

Even assume we can get 2 percent money, a half priced loan! That's $2,666 in interest cost to be paid from housing fees for each bed.

There money is just not there! But as always, Fact Checker is open to listening. Explain for me how this is going to be financed.

The careful reader will notice that so far Fact Checker has only talked about paying the interest. Because Duke is not going to be paying back anything year by year on the principal. It's not like a mortgage on a private home or condo.

This means that in 50 years, we will have a tired old dorm in need of a total makeover -- and we will still owe the $20 million borrowed in 2010 to put it up. Crazy.

Associate Dean Gonzalez says K4 will pay for itself. Hey everybody, there's a free lunch in Keohane Quadrangle!!

As the student government president said in relation to another issue, "no way in hell."

If we can put up Keohane4 and it will pay for itself, why don't we put up all the dorms for Central Campus and celebrate!!!

And answer one other question. We're starting work on the site / foundation. Noise, dust, disruption. Hey everybody, it's 7 AM, time to get up.

Suppose the Trustees wake up at their meeting late in February and vote no. No, we are not going to proceed with this folly. We will leave the Quad a mess? C'mon fellow Dukies.

As they say in politics, "the fix is in," and the board will merely rubber stamp what the administration wants. After all, the trustees owe their seats to the administration, having been hand picked because they are lemmings. The Board of Lemmings.

✔Let us move on to the twin issues of consultation with stakeholders on planning for this dorm.

Today's Chronicle report provides no information on how K4 dorm became construction priority #1. Who had input, when, what ideas were considered from other than administrators, what other options were on the table?

And this article announces a meeting tonight at 9 PM to answer student concerns and questions. Thanks for the advance notice, fella.

And don't think tonight's meeting is a substitute for full transparency and accountability. There is still a need for Nowicki and Company to put forth complete documentation of all input from students and other stakeholders. When were meetings held? Who attended. What ideas were expressed. And most importantly what ideas were accepted.

The bulldozers may start to move the dirt around Keohane Quad very soon. But I am not going to be bulldozed into silence on these issues. Trust Fact Checker!

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