New dorms’ construction progresses despite delays

Hannah Mayer, Staff Reporter

The Housing Quad Redevelopment project has been underway since the demolition of Tulane University’s Bruff Commons in fall 2019

Phase I of the project has progressed slowly, but there has been significant progress in recent weeks.

Dorm construction continues unabated, as HRL expects construction to wrap up by year-end.
Dorm construction continues unabated, as HRL expects construction to wrap up by year-end. (Martha Sanchez)

A Campus Services weekly update on Jan 21. recorded the delivery of steel, wall and roofing materials, plumbing and electricity installation on the fourth and fifth floors and the installation of brick on the west side of the building. 

Randy Philipson, vice president for facilities, campus development and real estate, said the contractors working on this project were able to work longer hours over the winter holiday and make “substantial progress” due to a lack of students on campus. 

“We actually just celebrated the ‘topping off’ of Lake Hall, meaning that the roof was put on the top of that building,” Philipson said. 

Upon completion, phase I of the project will consist of two new interlocking residence halls called Lake and River Halls, totalling 230,000 square feet with 700 beds. 

Student rooms will be suite style, with a shared bathroom between two residence rooms. The new dorms will primarily offer doubles, with a limited selection of single rooms.

Timothy Lempfert, director of Housing and Residence Life, said the rooms will be similar to those in Wall, Weatherhead and Greenbaum Halls. 

The project will also include space for co-study, a new office for Housing and Residence Life, a few small meeting rooms and classrooms, double-tiered student lounges, food and beverage options and a possible jewel box space. 

The first-floor ‘Hub’ will be a large social space for all students, not just for building residents.

According to Lempfert, Lake and River Halls will house sophomores. However, he said “we expect that many of these students will be 2nd year students, but we also anticipate interest from juniors and seniors as well.”

The dormitories will not offer Residential Learning Communities. Instead, they will offer mixed-gender housing, gender-affirming housing and possibly cluster housing. 

After various delays due to challenges in getting materials delivered — which Lempfert accredited to pandemic labor shortages — phase I of the project is expected to be completed during fall 2022. 

Students living in Irby and Phelps Hall and Paterson House in the fall should expect to be moved into Lake and River Halls between the fall 2022 and spring 2023 semesters. 

Once students move into Lake and River Halls, phase II of the project will begin. Phase II includes abatement in spring 2023 and demolition of Irby Hall, Phelps Hall and Paterson House in late spring to early summer of 2023. 

Housing built during phase II is expected to open for operation during the 2025-26 academic year. Fogelman Hall will replace Irby Hall during phase II. 

Fogelman Hall, one of five buildings in the new residential village, is named after the Fogelman family. The Fogelmans are Tulane alumni and they donated to the indoor basketball court — the Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse

According to Philipson, over the course of the semester, the Tulane community should expect to see the crane taken down, the installation of windows and brick added to the buildings.

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