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Rice will build two new colleges between Sid Richardson and Wiess


One new college will replace the old Sid Richardson College building, and the other will be constructed closer to Wiess College. A new servery will connect the colleges. Robert Heeter / Thresher.

By Prayag Gordy     6/2/23 11:44am

Rice intends to build two new residential colleges with an accompanying servery, President Reggie DesRoches and Vice President for Finance and Administration Kelly Fox announced in an email sent May 19.

The old Sid Richardson College building, opened in 1971, will be demolished as “part of this project,” the announcement added. The demolition will likely start in June 2023 with the removal of debris continuing into the fall semester, Fox later wrote to the Thresher through a spokesperson. Each new college will be constructed using some reclaimed building materials from Old Sid, according to Fox.

“The two new colleges will be interconnected by a central servery, with the first college located where Old Sid used to be,” Fox’s spokesperson wrote. “The second college will be positioned closer to Wiess College, adjacent to [South Lot] and [the] road near campus Entrance 4.”

Rice Coffeehouse had previously intended to relocate to the servery inside of Old Sid during the construction of the new student center. Fox said the administration will provide additional information later this year, and a representative from Coffeehouse did not return a request for comment.

The construction of the new colleges is expected to be completed by Fall 2026, and each will have a capacity of over 300 beds, according to Fox’s message. Currently, McMurtry, Duncan and Sid Richardson Colleges have more than 300 beds, while the other eight colleges have between 232 and 291 beds.

The decision to build Rice’s 12th and 13th residential colleges comes as undergraduate enrollment has grown from 4,052 students in Fall 2020 to a projected 4,800 by Fall 2024. The email from DesRoches and Fox said that Rice aims to house 80% of students on campus, an increase from the current 70%. As planned, the new colleges will bring Rice’s on-campus capacity to more than 3,500 students.

“As the student body continues to grow, the need to provide housing within the college system grows as well,” Fox wrote.

Rice initially shared plans to build a 12th residential college in March 2021, when then-president David Leebron told the Faculty Senate that Rice anticipated a 20% increase in undergraduate enrollment by 2025. The announcement of a 13th college and a sixth servery are new.

Fox wrote that the addition of a 13th college is a result of continued campus growth.

“Since the colleges are being developed at the same time and in the same area, with a connecting servery, that delayed the design and pushed opening into 2026,” Fox wrote. “We see substantial value to adding two colleges and a servery simultaneously to our campus.”

McMurtry and Duncan Colleges opened as Rice’s 10th and 11th residential colleges in 2009, also in response to an expansion of the undergraduate population.

The 12th and 13th colleges and the corresponding servery will be designed by Henning Larsen, Fox wrote. The company describes itself as “an architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism, and interior, graphic, and lighting design studio.”

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