Future of campus housing? More beds, more students

Bethany Milner, Contributing Writer

Lake and River Halls are preparing for students to move in after winter break. (Yazmine Parker)

Phase 1 of the new housing redevelopment on the former Bruff Quad is underway, prompting a new question for Tulane University students: what do the changes mean for the future of on-campus housing? 

Timothy Lempfert, director of housing and residence life, said plans are not finalized yet, but the redevelopment has two phases. 

Phase 1 includes the tear down of Phelps and Irby Residence Halls to build Lake and River Halls. Phase 2, if approved, would build three additional halls. 

Those dorms would bring 1,200 more beds to campus than exist today. 

On Tulane’s campus, there are dorms that primarily house freshmen and others that primarily house sophomores. Right now, Aron Residences and Décou-Labat Residences are the only option for upperclassmen who prefer to stay on campus. Lempfert said the school has not finalized which new residence halls juniors would occupy but hopes they could house more juniors on campus and alleviate the strain on local rental markets. 

The new housing redevelopment project will consist of a total of five new residential halls. These will include Lake and River Halls and Fogelman Hall, which will replace Irby Hall during Phase 2. 

Lake and River Halls will feature a 3,000 square foot student lounge on the ground floor, 11,000 square feet of co-study space that includes rooms for podcasts and spaces for gaming and a 200-seat multipurpose theater. They will also contain a new convenience store and a Shake Smart restaurant. 

The appeal of these new dorms could cause a massive influx of juniors, and maybe even seniors, wanting to stay on-campus — especially with the new residence halls being in the central part of campus.

“As we complete the construction of The Village and increase the number of beds on campus, we anticipate being able to accommodate many more upperclass students,” Lempfert said. 

The hope of giving juniors and possibly all upperclassmen a chance to live on campus could relieve some stress for students who cannot afford off-campus housing. 

“Most years, Housing and Residence Life has enough housing to accommodate upperclass students who want to live on campus. With the recent larger class sizes, that has proven to be more challenging,” Lempfert said. “Our hope in adding approximately 1200 new, additional beds on campus is to allow more upperclass students who want to remain on campus the opportunity to do so. We believe this will significantly alleviate the challenges of finding off-campus housing for many students.”

Lempfert said Tulane is still designing and planning the new residence halls but hopes to build them in place of Irby, Phelps and Paterson. 

The school has not officially designated “junior” or “senior” dorms or decided which class years will live in Lake and River Halls and, if approved, the three new residence halls. However, sophomores currently living in Phelps and Irby will transition to Lake and River Halls over winter break. 

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