NEW ORLEANS — The Barn, one of the enduring symbols of Xavier University of Louisiana, will be razed next week.
Demolition of the 1,300-seat gymnasium — which opened in 1937 and was the home of XU's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the home facility for teams in men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball — will begin Monday morning.
The Convocation Center, a $25 million facility with seating for as many as 4,500, opened in early November to replace The Barn. Both XU basketball teams played their 2012-13 home schedules there. The women's volleyball team played its home matches at The Barn during the fall of 2012 and will begin competition in the new facility in September.
"The Barn had a lot of wear and tear, and Xavier outgrew The Barn over the years," said Kenneth St. Charles, XU's vice president for institutional advancement. "With the Convocation Center, we now have a facility which can house the entire campus." The Barn suffered significant damage as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and it qualified for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding. When FEMA gave Xavier the option to use that money for a new facility, the university opted to build instead of renovate The Barn.
"But under those conditions," St. Charles said, "Xavier's use of FEMA funding for the Convocation Center required us to tear down The Barn." Xavier's spring commencement, scheduled for Saturday in the Convocation Center, will mark the first time since 1983 that an XU graduation is held on campus.
The offices of the men's and women's basketball coaches and the athletics trainers are in the Convocation Center. Opened in October was the Convocation Center Annex, a three-story building about 30 yards from the new arena, to house the other coaches, athletics and recreational sports administrators, health and physical education classes and the instructors of those classes.
Xavier officials have yet to determine the future of the space which will be created by The Barn's demolition.