The Bea Field Alumni House is reaching new heights, thanks to a $1.3 million project to raise and repair the structure, making it less susceptible to flooding. The building was damaged due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, forcing the relocation of staff to temporary offices at University Square.
Extensive repairs are under way now to bring the house at 6319 Willow St. back to its original condition.
"We are thrilled that the work has begun," says Charlotte Travieso, director of alumni affairs. "We are excited to be getting back to our home, and I'm sure alumni everywhere will feel like they'll be back at home too."
While elevation work was completed previously, repairs resumed in December, and construction is expected to continue through October 2010.
The university's Capital Projects and Real Estate Group has worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in obtaining federal funds to repair the building. Construction standards must adhere to FEMA's guidelines, and the process to ensure compliance can be lengthy, says Billie Pearsall, assistant vice president of business continuity and federal emergency recovery at Tulane.
"The Alumni House sustained damage from the rising flood waters and high winds," says Pearsall. "The building is being returned to its pre-storm condition."
In addition to elevating the house, annex and garage, repairs will include the replacement of plaster walls, mahogany paneling, flooring and doors. All electrical, telephone and data systems will be replaced.
"Elevating the house is a form of mitigation, which attempts to prevent some of the same type of damage from occurring during future events," says Shawn Lege, assistant vice president of university construction for the project.