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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Newcomb Hall renovations announced

“We now have the opportunity to bring this monumental building into the present and to reimagine it around the best aspects of interdisciplinary education for Tulane students of generations to come,” Brian Edward, the dean of Tulane’s school of liberal arts, said.

Newcomb Hall, Tulane University’s primary center for liberal arts, will undergo a major remodeling starting in summer 2024. The renovation was originally scheduled to be completed in late 2021 or early 2022 but was delayed for unknown reasons. The developers project the renovation’s cost to be around $245 million

The renovated Newcomb Hall will feature a “dynamic first-floor” including an event space, spaces for collaboration, interdisciplinary meeting rooms and a suite dedicated to the strategy, leadership and analytics minor, according to the Tulane website. The hall will also include a space for the department of communication and the digital media program on the fourth floor with screening rooms, editing suites, a green screen shooting room and a podcast recording studio.

“We now have the opportunity to bring this monumental building into the present and to reimagine it around the best aspects of interdisciplinary education for Tulane students of generations to come,” Brian Edward, the dean of Tulane’s school of liberal arts, said. 

According to students, Newcomb Hall is notoriously run-down, so these updates are considered vital to improve both the learning and teaching experience of liberal arts students and professors.

Newcomb Hall is “definitely outdated to an extent that does affect the learning environment,” Jordan Kona, a student with multiple classes in Newcomb Hall, said. “The classrooms can tend to be freezing cold and the teachers have no power to change that. Also, oftentimes classrooms are lacking basic things such as outlets.”

Kona said she would like to see more accessible elevators as well as more bathrooms added in the renovations. Currently, the building does not have restrooms for men and women on every floor. 

The bathrooms are a matter of contention for students and staff members alike. 

“The bathrooms being only in the basement and on the top floor is kind of weird and it would be nice to have more in the middle,” Mario Ivan Juarez-Garcia, professor of philosophy and political economy who teaches in Newcomb Hall, said. 

Students also said the building is not modern enough compared to other buildings on campus.

“It’s not a modern feeling, I guess. The chalkboards for one is something that really bothers me. Also the setup of the desks feels like a maze,” freshman Delaney Dusi said. Dusi said she would like to see “whiteboards and TVs like they have in the business school instead of chalkboards and projectors, to make it easier to take notes and give presentations.”

Juarez-Garcia also expressed concern over the infrastructure of the building.

“I see that the facilities can be better,” Juarez-Garcia said. “The building is roughly 100 years old, so … it requires some renovations, and what I cannot see is probably even more problematic.”

Not all the planned renovations are eliciting equal excitement in staff and students. 

“We did not see the plans, a problem in itself. We were told that in the renovated structure, professors of practice will not have regular offices, which is a cause of concern,” Esra Özcan, a professor who teaches most of her classes in Newcomb Hall said. “There has been anxiety around the renovation among the faculty – and the process has not been transparent so far.”

Juarez-Garcia says that the Newcomb Hall staff has been told about the renovations starting this summer, but they have not received any details. He also said he expects that their offices will be moved during the renovation process.

“I would like to have a nicer office,” Juarez-Garcia said. “It would certainly come at a cost … So [construction] will be an annoyance, but my hope is that it won’t be a massive distortion. It would just be an annoyance, but the future payoff will be worth it all.”

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