Administration considers future of Newcomb College Institute house


The Newcomb College Institute house is located at 44 Newcomb Blvd. The demolition of the building to make way for a four-story dining and office complex has been postponed after the university withdrew its demolition permits. 

Maricela Murillo, Contributing Reporter

After announcing a plan to build new dining halls and offices on the site of the current Newcomb College Institute house at 44 Newcomb Blvd. in April of this year, Tulane has withdrawn its demolition permit in order to give the President Michael Fitts time to decide whether or not to go through with the project. 

Anne Baños, chief of staff and vice president for administrative services, explained the rationale behind withdrawing the permit.  

“We wanted to give [Fitts] an opportunity to understand the project [and] really take a good, deep look at it,” Baños said. “We made the decision that it was better to take some time to have him take that opportunity.”

The project is currently at a complete halt, but the $46 million proposed building is being considered from many angles.  

”When we undertake any type of campus project, there are lots of stages that we go through, but one very important one is to talk about every program or every entity that might be in the space,” Baños said. “When we build things on a campus we’re building things for 50 or a 100 years, so part of it is to think about what’s to come and what may come and how we anticipate the changes that our students may have in terms of their needs.”

Baños said the site of the NCI house is the best option for the proposed construction. 

“We would really like that site for a bunch of very important reasons, like the fact that it’s central to campus,” Baños explained. “We have one residential dining facility and we really on this campus can only support one. When you put a residential dining facility and you want it to be some place that’s really close to students [and] close to where students live, nobody really has to walk too far… sort of create a campus living room.” 

Some students and Newcomb College alumni have protested against the demolition of the NCI house, which was built in 1908. Senior Yiran Chao said she does not support the demolition of the house.

“You can’t replace a physical structure that’s been there for quite some time,” Chao said. “You can always move the people to a different building, but once you tear down a historic building, you can’t rebuild it.”

Currently, the Newcomb College Institute is spread throughout three different locations. The house itself only encompasses 3,000 of the 16,000 total square feet on which the NCI operates. The new building would centralize the institute into one location.

“I’ve seen the campus change a lot over time,” Baños said. “We’re landlocked, so we only have so many opportunities if we’re going to preserve the green space and preserve what I think is a very beautiful, very spacious, open campus.”

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