After much political opposition to expanding the College’s mission beyond an agricultural school, Science Hall was built in 1914 as a home for all science classes—bacteriology, biology, botany, chemistry, animal husbandry, math, physics, zoology and agronomy—finally replacing “the shacks in which chemistry and botany were being taught that were in a state of imminent collapse.”
Built with campus-quarried granite, the building boasted a state-of-the-art heating system that connected Ranger to the main power house by an underground trench through the Quadrangle.
The building was renamed Ranger Hall in 1927 after Walter E. Ranger, a strong advocate for the building who later served as chairman of the College Board of Trustees. A $600,000 renovation in 1950 updated the utilities and improved the building’s interior space planning.
In 2015, Ranger Hall received a $6.3 million facelift and is now home to the Harrington School of Communication and Media, housing 11 rooms on the first floor, that include classrooms, editing suites, a recording studio, a screening room, a social innovation lab, a media equipment resource center, advising center and large living room.
The program offers five undergraduate programs: communication studies, film/media, journalism, public relations, writing and rhetoric and two graduate programs: communication and library information studies.
The building’s second, third, and fourth floors are unoccupied awaiting renovation.
The stately buildings ringing the University of Rhode Island’s Quadrangle helped shape the story of the institution. Here, on the occasion of URI’s 125th Anniversary, we present you with a narrative behind the walls of that historic timeline.
**Much of the historic data in this article was culled from information provided by the late Sandy Taylor, a champion of historic preservation and land conservation, who served as University Architect from 1987 until his retirement in 2005. We are also deeply indebted to students enrolled in Catherine DeCesare’s history class last fall who provided additional information. DeCesare is a history coordinator, academic advisor, and lecturer. Finally, we would like to thank Mark Dionne, Archives and Special Collections, for his patience and vast knowledge.