Fresh quarters for RU Classics, in new Academic Building atop historic “Holy Hill”

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The new Rutgers Academic Building, now the home of RU Classics—6th floor, 15 Seminary Place, New Brunswick NJ. Credit: DEVCO

Two hundred forty years ago—in December 1776, during the American Revolution—the British sited their artillery on this hill during their occupation of New Brunswick.

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One hundred sixty years ago—in 1856—the New Brunswick Theological Seminary chose the same height for its grand Hertzog Hall, thereby making the hill “holy”.

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Fifty years ago—in 1966—Hertzog inexplicably fell victim to the wrecking ball, and an architectural monstrosity, Zwemer Hall (charitably known as “The Dixie Cup”) rose up on Holy Hill in its place.

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And now on 6 September 2016, on this same elevation Rutgers has opened its $116 million, 175,000 square-foot Academic Building. It serves as new home to its School of Arts and Sciences and a number of SAS departments—including Classics. It marks the first new academic facility on the Rutgers College Avenue Campus since the 1960s.

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For Rutgers Classics, it meant saying goodbye to its home (of half a century or so) in the Ruth Adams Building of beloved Douglass Campus, and setting up shop at the following new address:

Department of Classics, Rutgers Academic Building, Room 6183

15 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Tel. 848-932-8223, e-mail classics@rci.rutgers.edu

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The completion of the impressive brick and limestone Rutgers Academic Building forms an important part of the College Avenue Redevelopment Initiative that broke ground in 2013.

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Rutgers Classics seminar room, in the new Academic Building

To make it all happen required a noteworthy collaboration by Rutgers, the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and Rutgers Hillel. The Initiative’s first major project, the residential Honors College, opened last fall.

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The Rutgers Academic Building—which is really two large connected structures—contains ultra-modern lecture halls, large and small classrooms, informal learning spaces as well as conference rooms and faculty offices. With a seating capacity of 2500, our new facility will see 20,000 students passing through its halls each day.

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From the vantage point of Classics, located in spacious and light-filled quarters on the sixth floor of the west part of the structure, the 360 degree views of New Brunswick and the Raritan River are spectacular.

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Then there is the landscaping. A stepped pedestrian passage between the two wings of the building connects the Voorhees Mall at Seminary Place to the northern end of the New Brunswick campus, creating some enticing outdoor spaces. Oh, and did we mention there is a cafe?

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Late 19th century view of “Holy Hill” with Hertzog Hall of New Brunswick Theological Seminary at center

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Rutgers’ Douglass Campus: idealizing view of the former ‘Recitation Hall’ (later Ruth Adams Building), home of RU Classics from the 1960s through 2016

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