A New Home for "The Bubble"

Most people called it “The Bubble,” some called it “The Onion” and hardly anyone referred to it as “The Pavilion,” which was the official name of the large, bulbous structure that occupied a portion of the Bruff Quad for five years and played a central role in university life as home to the campus bookstore and food services.

The larger they are, the harder they fall — disassembling the 20,000-square-foot building that for five years housed the bookstore and food services was a huge undertaking. (Photo by Tricia Travis)

Now the building will have a new name and serve a new function on a campus 300 miles away.

Engineered and marketed by Sprung Instant Structures as a semi-permanent “relocatable building,” the Bubble — all 20,000 square feet of it — was dismantled over the summer and is currently being reassembled on the 175-acre campus of the Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport, La.

Rick Edmunds, president of the K-12 academy, said he hopes to have the building, which will be christened the Calvary Dome, in working order to host the school's annual Fall Fest at the end of October.

The structure will function as a multipurpose facility and will be used to house anything from basketball games to banquets, said Edmunds. Unlike the Bubble, which was divided by a wall into two primary sections, the Calvary Dome will function as one vast space with no partitions.

The Bubble was built on Tulane's campus in 2003, to help accommodate the displacement of functions resulting from the renovation of the University Center as it was being rebuilt to become the Lavin-Bernick Center.

Original plans called for the Bubble to be dismantled in 2006, but delays associated with Hurricane Katrina prolonged its stay on campus, said Tony Lorino, senior vice president and chief financial officer of the university. “It served our purposes well,” said Lorino, who added that the site of the structure will be turned back into green space.

Tulane and Calvary officials signed off on the deal to transfer the building in May of this year. In what Edmunds characterized as a win-win situation, Tulane donated the $2.3 million building to the church on the condition that the church absorb the cost of striking and moving the structure.

The former Bubble site is being prepared for conversion back into green space.