Deconstruction of Bruff Commons, our former residential dining facility, began during the fall semester of 2019. A new residential housing complex will be built in its place. The FAQs below offer information about the deconstruction process, construction timeline, and environmental safety during the project.
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In August 2019, the university opened the Commons, the new home of our residential dining room and the Newcomb Institute. The Dining Room at the Commons replaced Bruff Commons, which was constructed in 1963. Deconstruction of Bruff Commons began during the fall semester of 2019 and is expected to be completed in March 2020.
Our goal in this process is to salvage as much of the building as possible. Through what is known as a selective demolition process, our contractor will be able to recycle and repurpose select building materials. This takes more time than a building demolition but allows us to be more sustainable.
A new student housing complex will be built in Bruff’s place. Two residence halls will open in 2022 that will increase student housing capacity by 230,000 square feet and almost 700 beds, offering multi-function living, learning, and gathering spaces. In addition to rooms for undergraduate students, these new buildings will feature student co-study space, enhanced community kitchens, multiple student lounges, and a 200-seat multipurpose theatre. EskewDumezRipple+ is the lead architectural firm on this project, supported by Hanbury. Woodward Design+Build is the general contractor.
Deconstruction of Bruff, including debris and concrete slab removal, is expected to last through March 2020. Once the site is cleared, preparation work is scheduled to begin. This work includes removal of the stairs on the quad side of Irby Hall (to be replaced by stairs on the Paterson side of Irby Hall), foundation work, and relocation of utility lines. Construction of the new buildings will begin summer 2020. More detailed information will be shared as the preparation and construction phases begin.
The new buildings are anticipated to open in the fall of 2022. Weather conditions and other factors may affect this timeline, and this page will be updated if any major changes are made to the work schedule.
During the deconstruction phase, work is authorized to begin at 7:30am Monday-Friday and 8:30am Saturday-Sunday.
Once construction begins on the new buildings during the summer of 2020, work will begin at 8:00am Monday-Friday and 9:00am Saturday-Sunday.
Contractors will mobilize at the site 30 minutes prior to the start time, but work should not begin until the start time.
While students were informed during the spring 2020 room selection process (for the 2020-2021 academic year), the construction timeline was not firm enough for Housing & Residence Life to notify students during the spring semester of 2019.
Construction is anticipated to have an impact on parking and shuttle service in the area. Specific communication will come from those departments once operational changes are confirmed.
In alignment with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) regulations and standards, the property was surveyed in the fall of 2019 in order to detect hazardous materials, including asbestos, mercury, and lead. The purpose of this phase was to identify and remove any hazardous materials prior to demolition. Pre-demolition abatement activity commenced on November 19, 2019 and was completed on December 6, 2019. During abatement, all external building openings were sealed, and all interior, active asbestos abatement areas were isolated and sealed from adjacent building areas. The structure was isolated from the surrounding environment. Throughout the duration of the abatement work, asbestos air quality sampling and analysis was conducted adjacent to work areas and to standards that meet and exceed the OSHA and LDEQ regulations and standards applicable to this work.
In January 2020, Tulane suspended demolition work to test some concealed window flashing material that typically contains non-friable asbestos. Following confirmation, the removal of the asbestos-containing flashing elements commenced on January 27, 2020. Prior to commencement of the work, an independent environmental contractor, the Scott Group, established site perimeter asbestos air quality monitoring stations and implemented air testing, during work, at locations across the site. The removal of the asbestos containing flashing elements was completed on February 1, 2020.
Air samples were taken throughout deconstruction, including both phases of abatement. No air samples exceeded the most stringent USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) standards. These results show that there is no threat to student or employee health and safety.
Tulane will continue to monitor air quality as dictated by the construction activities. At this time, asbestos-related activities are complete. If asbestos material is discovered in the future, air quality testing and safety measures will be implemented again.
Tulane and our contractors are also required to use dust suppression measures, including water hoses and water curtains, when needed. However, there are parts of construction when is not necessary and/or would interfere with production, so dust suppression may not be constant.