Rhodes is listed as the No. 1 Most Beautiful Campus in The Princeton Review’s The Best 381 Colleges, 2017 Edition, and campus improvements are ongoing, whether through major construction or minor enhancements. The centerpiece is Robertson Hall, named in honor of Lola ’33 and Charles Robertson, Sr. ’29, in appreciation of the generosity of Patricia and Charles Robertson, Jr. ’65. The 55,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art science facility will house four biology faculty and two chemistry faculty, with six teaching labs, five research labs, and two classrooms. It maintains the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture of all buildings constructed by Rhodes. Robertson Hall will open for the fall semester.
Briggs Hall, formerly the Student Center, will reopen in August as the new home for computer science studies after a comprehensive renovation. The building will house five faculty offices and six computer labs, two research labs, and three classrooms. The main floor also has the Spence Wilson Commons, which includes the Spence Wilson Room for meetings and a lobby at its entrance.
A number of other projects are ongoing in preparation for the coming academic year, including upgrades of two residence halls to improve energy efficiency and comfort, and construction of the Bill and Carole Troutt Quadrangle. Upon returning to campus this fall, students will find refurbished rooms, renovated study spaces, and up-to-date labs and classrooms for computer science, biology, and chemistry. Over the years, Rhodes has continued to fulfill the imperative in the Rhodes Vision, adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2003, which says, in part, “To provide a residential place of learning that inspires integrity and high achievement through its beauty . . . and its heritage as a leader in the liberal arts and sciences.”
Additionally, Rhodes is recovering from damage incurred as a result of recent storms that have buffeted the Mid-South. Two sections of the perimeter fence—one on the east side and another on the south side of campus—were crumpled by fallen trees, 12 trees were downed, several buildings sustained minor roof damage, and the steeple on the McNeill Concert Hall (613 University Street) suffered significant damage as a result of strong winds and an apparent lightning strike. Rhodes will be engaging contractors in the coming weeks to determine precisely how extensive the damage to the steeple is and whether it remains structurally stable.
“I want to thank the Physical Plant staff and everyone who played a part for their great job of clearing away debris and ensuring the safety of the campus,” says Kyle Webb, vice president for finance and business affairs. “We’re planning to replace the trees in the fall, and other campus improvements remain on schedule.”