Lathrop residents voted 59-48 against allowing the Intercultural Center space in their basement. Locating a site for the center had proved very difficult since it was originally proposed by the student/faculty Race Relations Committee in February 1977. At that time, the committee had looked,it reported in a letter to The Miscellany News, "to Murphy Farm House, the Observatory, the old Post Office, and a host of other places." More recently, a proposed space for the center on the second floor of New England Building, unoccupied since the biology department had moved in the Olmsted Hall, had been given instead to the art department for studio art space.

President Smith overruled the Lathrop residents and the Intercultural Center moved into its new home in September 1979 after two years of debate. Over time, as other student organizations found space in Lathrop and as the student organizations utilizing the Intercultural Center grew in number and membership, the Lathrop location became unsuitable.  In the spring of 1992, plans were approved for the conversion of the "vehicles building," originally a storage facilty for coal for the steam plant, into a permanent site for the center.  In February 1993 The Intercultural Center: A Center for Asian, Black and Latino Students—later the ALANA Center—opened, along with a new student theater space, in this location.