The new Rutherford Hall is on its way to being complete and ready to house students in time for fall semester classes. A dedication ceremony is planned for June 26.
This Rutherford residence hall, which stands on the site of the old hall of the same name, is being constructed on the north side of Myers Community Quad, near the intersection of Cedar Street and Sanford Drive.
Once complete, the building will house up to 261 students, offering carpeted rooms with private baths and high-speed Internet access. Despite those upgrades, the design of the new building aims to embrace the historic nature of the original. The first Rutherford Hall was constructed in 1939 as a federal project with the Public Works Administration. It was named for Mildred Rutherford, an Athens writer and educator. However, the building was razed last summer after a cost-benefit analysis showed the deteriorating 73-year-old building would be too difficult and expensive to renovate.
With some students and alumni expressing concern about the loss of the building’s history, steps have been taken to preserve the memory of the old Rutherford Hall.
“It will look remarkably similar to the old building,” said Carrie Campbell, public relations coordinator for University Housing.
Parts of the old building-bricks, staircase handrails, doors and fireplace mantels-are being repurposed for landscaping and interior design features in the new residence hall.
“We’ve taken conscious steps to preserve the historic aesthetic of the Myers Quad,” Campbell said.
An important tradition from the old Rutherford also will live on in the new building. Once again, Franklin Residential College will be housed in Rutherford Hall when the new building opens.
The FRC is a student-governed residential program that offers members a chance to participate in academic and cultural community events in the model of smaller residential colleges.
Rebecca Simpson-Litke, an assistant professor of music theory in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, serves as faculty-in-residence for the FRC.
This academic year, the FRC was housed in the much larger Building 1516 on East Campus, but Simpson-Litke said students are looking forward to getting into the new Rutherford Hall.
“They were definitely attached to the old building and its location,” she said. “The point of the residential college is for the students to live together, do activities together and build a community all around them.”
While the new Rutherford Hall will house more students than the old, Simpson-Litke said it will still be small enough to carry out the mission of the FRC.
“For us, trying to make it feel like a smaller community that lives together is what we’re excited about,” she said. “So it’s a new building, but hopefully will have the same kind of feeling as the old.”