Central Grounds includes the historic Academical Village and the majority of libraries and student services, along with academic, residential, administrative and health system facilities. This original precinct is the most heavily developed of the three, and the provision of a pedestrian linkage with the South Lawn project will provide access to new development south of Jefferson Park Avenue. Two planning workshops were held to assess the needs for growth in this diverse area. The Brandon Avenue and Monroe Lane Workshop integrated the concepts of previous studies into a coherent, consistent vision in support of additional growth south of Jefferson Park Avenue. The second planning workshop, Health System/West Main Street Workshop, engaged the City of Charlottesville and the Health System to understand their vision for redevelopment along the West Main Street corridor and establish a continuing and open dialogue between the University and the City for this area. Key issues that arose during the workshops included the need for additional space in existing and new facilities; better adjacency between research and patient care; and increased connectivity between existing facilities. Addressing the Carr’s Hill area of this precinct, the current strategy of coordinated, multi-functional infill projects to achieve a unified Arts Grounds is planned to continue. Current infill projects on underutilized parking lots, combined with the new Culbreth Road Garage and a planned addition to the Drama building, set the stage for a primary green space on the north side of Carr’s Hill to be fully realized.
Central Grounds hosts an array of green spaces, ranging from the iconic civic spaces of the Lawn and libraries’ quadrangle to the more scenic Pavilion gardens and plantation. While these green spaces are key elements of this precinct and the Grounds-at-large, the area south of Jefferson Park Avenue is in need of additional greens. Three new landscape spaces within the South Lawn project will provide key spaces and connections for this precinct; the terrace crossing - an important pedestrian connection across Jefferson Park Avenue, the courtyard, and the memorial park. Additional landscape spaces are also planned for new facilities in the Health System.
Adequate capacity for new academic and health system facilities is demonstrated through infill of underutilized parcels and replacement of existing structures with higher density buildings. Redevelopment opportunities include the new Cancer Center, established by relocating the current parking, a medical office building along West Main Street, redevelopment of the current Virginia Ambulatory Surgery Center (VASC) site, and other locations along Brandon Avenue connecting to the South Lawn project.
Housing in Central Grounds is provided along the Lawn, at Brown College, Bice House, Lambeth Field Apartments, McCormick Road Residence Area, International Residential College and the Asian, French and Spanish Houses. Central Grounds is well supported by adjacent community housing in the Jefferson Park Avenue area and at the Corner, the adjacent commercial district.
The circulation system throughout Central Grounds offers a multitude of facilities for pedestrians, bicycles and the University transit, but has limited parking and vehicular access. This presents challenges for the Health System in particular, since providing good access for staff, patients and visitors to the hospital and its related facilities is vital. Internally, the Health System facilities are well served by a connective system of enclosed walkways called “the link”, which will continue to be extended and updated with the development of new facilities. Externally, planning for new development provides additional streetscapes, and the area is well served by both UTS and CTS bus systems. The South Lawn terrace will provide an important pedestrian connection across Jefferson Park Avenue.