Housing Construction FAQs

Deconstruction of Bruff Commons, our former residential dining facility, began during the fall semester of 2019. A new residential housing complex is being built in its place. The responses to the frequently asked questions below offer information about the deconstruction process, construction timeline, and environmental safety protocols employed during the project.

If you have further questions, please share them with our team.

What is being built on the former site of Bruff Commons?

A new student housing complex is being constructed in place of Bruff Commons. Two residence halls will open 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.

What is the expected timeline of this project?

Deconstruction of Bruff, including debris and concrete slab removal, was completed in the spring of 2021. Preparation work began soon after, including 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 began during the fall of 2020.

The new buildings are anticipated to open in 2023. 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.

What work hours have been approved for construction at the site? When can I expect construction activity and noise?

During the academic year, work is authorized for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Beginning in 2022, Saturday work was added to the schedule. If Sunday work is required for the project to keep to the construction timeline, residential students will be notified by email prior to work beginning.

Contractors may mobilize at the site 30 minutes prior to the start time, but work should not begin until the start time.

Will construction impact shuttle service, parking, or traffic on campus?

The shuttle stop that was previously at Bruff Commons has been removed and shuttles rerouted to other on-campus stops.

Members of our community are expected to abide by all signage, street closures, and directions provided during construction. Parking and sidewalk access on McAlister Place has been reduced by construction. Please use the sidewalk on the Mayer/Butler side of the street.

Traffic may be intermittently affected during the project, and these effects will be communicated by email.

Why was Bruff Commons torn down?

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 finished in spring 2020.

Our goal during this process was to salvage as much of the building as possible. Through what is known as a selective demolition process, our contractor recycles and repurposed select building materials. This takes more time than a building demolition but allowed us to be more sustainable.


What kind of environmental protections were put in place during deconstruction?

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.

Was any air quality testing done during deconstruction?

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 showed that there was no threat to student or employee health and safety.

Will you continue to perform air quality testing during deconstruction and construction?

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.