Rotunda classroom spaces open Tuesday

Renovations nearly complete

After four years of construction, the Rotunda renovation is coming to a close in time for the start of classes Tuesday.

“The goal [of the renovations] was to integrate the building into the life of the University, it was a goal for both the interior and the exterior,” Brian Hogg, senior historic preservation planner, said.

Offices inside the Rotunda have been turned into classrooms which Hogg said can be booked for seminars and COLA classes. However, the classroom space doesn’t belong to any particular school. The spaces are intended for use by all the schools for a wide range of classes.

Study spots and collaborative areas balance the classroom space. The southwest wing now houses a multipurpose room that is available for everyone in the University community to use, Hogg said.

The dome room will have tables and chairs for students, as will the upper west oval room, which was previously a museum space. The first balcony will be open to the public for the first time as a study space.

In the evening, the lower west oval room classroom space will also be available to students as a study location.

The building will be open and unlocked from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. — and the Rotunda will be open until 10 p.m. for extended study hours Sunday through Tuesday, Hogg added. The doors will be locked, but a student ID will be able to access the building.

On Wednesdays, space will be available for dorm dinners. Thursday and Friday will be reserved for events that were previously regular in the Rotunda, such as lectures and banquets. September's Board of Visitors meeting will be the first event held in the Rotunda.

The exterior of the Rotunda has also seen changes: both the east and west courtyards will have benches. The west courtyard will also have moveable furniture.

Hogg said a lot of work was done on the north courtyard. Additional paving was added to either side of the Jefferson statue, and benches will also be added around the courtyard. The areas are intended to be an outdoor gathering space for students to study and to socialize.

Now that the Rotunda renovation is nearly complete, Hogg said those in the Office of the Architect are looking into new renovation projects around the University.

None of the projects will be to the same scale as the Rotunda renovation, but Hogg said the final decision will depend on available funds. Funding for renovation projects usually comes from private donations.

While the Rotunda is opening for classes on Tuesday, it will not be fully open to the public until Sept. 26. An open house for the community will take place Sept. 24-25.

related stories