UT officials say the most "painted" icon on campus should be back in time for the start of classes next week.
The Rock is currently fenced off with the message brb (be right back) painted on it.
Officials said they had to block the icon for safety reasons, while crews worked on nearby sidewalks and the university's new music center.
The Rock on UT's campus has been painted thousands and thousands of times over the years. Few messages left on the Rock have lasted very long, but the one there now may be there a while.
UT announced Friday that the campus landmark will be fenced off for about a month, while crews perform utility, sidewalk and guttering work around the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, that's currently under construction.
In honor of the hiatus, the message currently on the Rock reads, "brb :)" for "be right back."
The university is blocking off the Rock to keep it safe, and to keep people from putting themselves in harm's way to paint it.
The Rock has been a venue for student self-expression since the 1960s. Painting the Rock is a favorite tradition among students. It's painted thousands of times each year, featuring birthday messages, marriage proposals, original student artwork and other artistic expressions.
See UT's photo gallery of the Rock
The university relocated the Rock in 2009 from the south side of Volunteer Boulevard, near the intersection of Pat Head Summitt Street, to its current location at the corner of Volunteer Boulevard and Pat Summitt Street. The move helped make room for the new Student Health Building, which opened in January.
The Rock and its new surrounding sidewalks are expected to reopen in mid-August, before students return to campus.
Classes for the fall semester begin Wednesday, Aug. 22.
The Natalie L. Haslam Music Center began construction in 2010. The $40 million project is expected to open in fall 2013.