Recreating a Historic Site at the University of Georgia

by Katie Sloan

Athens, Ga.  Construction begins at Rutherford Hall.

Athens, Ga. — Juneau Construction Company completed the demolition of the University of Georgia’s historic Rutherford Hall dorm in June and has begun construction of a new three-story, 261-bed, 76,000-square-foot residence hall in its place. The new dormitory will carry the name “Rutherford Hall” through its next phase of life on the campus. It is owned by UGA Real Estate Foundation, and the architect is Collins Cooper Carusi.

UGA is updating and renovating its existing student housing portfolio, and this project will help meet on-campus housing demands.

The demolition was the final chapter for Rutherford, which for months was the focus of debate as UGA President Michael Adams weighed whether to renovate the 159-bed dormitory or to authorize building a new, bigger residence hall on the Myers Hall Quadrangle.

Students who lived in the building, alumni who had once lived there and historical preservationists asked Adams to save the building, built by the federal Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, during the Great Depression. But consultants and university planners said it would be too expensive to fix the old building, and the money would be more wisely spent in tearing Rutherford down and building a bigger residence hall in the same place.

After months of analysis and consideration from Adams, the ultimate decision was made to demolish the existing Rutherford Hall to make way for the new residence hall. The building will be ready for student occupancy in fall 2013.

Before demolition began, Juneau took out a couple of staircases and their handrails, along with a few column capitals and a pair of fireplace mantels, for use in the new, bigger dormitory. About 90 percent of what could not be salvaged will be recycled, including the bricks that formed most of the original building.


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