Study includes planning for phased renovation of an occupied building
The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (PHTM) is the oldest school of its kind, established in 1912. Today, PHTM is in the 24-story Tidewater Building in downtown New Orleans. The Tidewater Building is not well suited to the needs of highly social graduate students, active learning pedagogies and interdisciplinary research with colleagues in the School of Medicine facilities. It was originally constructed as an office tower and is now occupied by multiple university tenants.
Given this, Payette studied two scenarios for the future location of PHTM downtown: one in a renovated Tidewater Building and another being the relocation to Charity or new sites in the district. Payette’s Space Needs Analysis informs each scenario, considering faculty and student population growth, space standards, learning style, pedagogy and extramural funding. Payette merged multiple data sets to map and quantify existing people and space. Space standards for classrooms, offices and research were used to right-size the entire portfolio and inform the scenarios.
Payette is responsible for guiding Tulane’s strategic restructuring of its space portfolio across its Downtown Campus in concert with numerous master planning studies over the past four years. This work has integrated with real estate strategies for acquiring and leasing properties, major new academic initiatives, and the overall restoration and re-invigoration of a downtown that is still rebounding from hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Payette’s work downtown has centered around the Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Tropical Medicine (SPHTM), Social Work, Science and Engineering, and the School of Professional Advancement. For each school, Payette modeled research space needs and forecasted the impact of new hires over the next ten years. Individual research space, core facilities and animal research needs were included in growth forecasts. In addition, Payette evaluated learning environments for their ability to support active learning pedagogy.
Evaluation of the highest and best use of each building in Tulane’s portfolio led to the recommendation to relocate the SPHTM to a renovated Charity Hospital. This was a fundamental shift in thinking for Tulane about how to leverage the renovated hospital and founded on the idea that SPHTM’s current home in Tidewater would require outsized investments to sustain labs and learning environments in the long term. SPHTM would instead occupy a renovated Charity Hospital where multistory community hubs to connect classrooms, study areas, student organizations and student services. The re-invigoration of this historic landmark with as use that befits the legacy of Charity Hospital has met with excitement by the city and the University.