In the quest to document all the PWA-funded buildings on the University of Mississippi campus, here is yet another of the contributions to campus made by the New Deal administration of President Roosevelt. A few weeks back, a reader referred to the style of building of the Lewis Hall as a “dog of a building” and “bland” and “not an idea in sight” and finally, the “likes of which affect every state college campus in the country.” This one may be even more bland, which was the case for many of the PWA buildings. The non-PWA dorms built first on this street in 1929 were constructed in the same style, so they were just carrying on the trend.
R. W. Naef was the architect for Leavell Hall, completed in 1938, and W. J. McGee & Son the builder/contractor (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory database). Leavell was named for Dr. Richard Leavell, a professor of philosophy and political economy from 1890-1909 (socanth.olemiss.edu/2012/08/leavell-hall/). Nine Leavell brothers attended University of Mississippi.
This building, which was the first one I noted on campus to be funded under the PWA due to its prominent outside plaque, was initially a men’s dormitory housing 68 students (or 72 students, depending on which source you use). It currently houses faculty offices for Sociology and Anthropology, although they are slated for a move to the Lamar Law Center building when renovation is complete, if rumors are correct.
There are 13 buildings designed in this style on this street alone. At least 5 of them have already undergone renovation, and 3 more are pending to begin in the coming year. They may be seen as unimaginative by some, but I will have to say no more so than the newest series of dormitories to be built on campus. The new ones are just taller, and house more than ten times as many students.