Arboretum and Landscape Committee
Annual Report: 1984-85
The past year has seen an unusual amount of building and landscaping at the University. As a result the
Committee has wrestled with so many projects that it has been necessary to meet once every two weeks.
Probably the most significant planning effort has been the attempt to review the status and condition of the
historic grounds. The Washington landscaping firm of EDAW has been preparing an assessment of the central
grounds with the exception of the Pavilion Gardens, while Mr. Favretti, who is retained as a consultant architect
by the Garden Club of Virginia, has dealt with the gardens themselves. The Committee has reviewed both reports
and has entered into an extended dialog with the EDAW representatives, discussing such questions as the
desirability of diagonal paths on the lower lawn, the treatment of roadways in the alleys, lighting standards, the
use of walls in landscaping on the West Range, and the species and spacing of trees on the Lawn. We have also
consulted with Mr. Favretti about his recommendations for tree removal and planting.
The next most important project now underway is the landscaping of the replacement hospital. EDAW also
has the responsibility for planning this development, and the Committee has reviewed the preliminary drawings.
We have established priorities for the accomplishment of the work:
1. Completion of planting of the street trees.
2. Landscaping the entrances of the old and new hospitals, the intersection of Lee Street with Jefferson
Park Avenue, and the garden on the site of the old intern's quarters.
3. Screening the Virginia Power Substation.
A major redevelopment is underway at the White Burkett Miller Center for Public Affairs (Faulkner House),
involving relocation of the entrance road and changes in the plantings. The Committee has reviewed the
proposals made by Mr. Meade Palmer, and has worked with the Center to refine the plans.
An unusually large number of other planning reviews have been carried out this year. It should suffice
simply to list the sites involved:
1. Children's Rehabilitation Center
2. Student Activities Building
3. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
4. Birdwood Clubhouse
5. Observatory Dining Hall
6. Lithotripter Building
7. North Grounds Recreation Center
8. Culbreth Road planting
9. Clinch Valley College Dormitories
10. Gilmer Hall Addition
11. University Police Station
12. Handicapped access to:
a. Brooks Hall
b. Colonnade Hotel
c. Poe Alley
13. Parking and Transportation Building
14. Temporary Helipad during hospital construction
15. Darden School parking lot
16. Monroe Hall new inner court
17. Site for satellite receivers
18. Rotunda service turnaround
Several general problems of design specifications have been resolved. The area within which walkways will
be paved in brick has been delineated. Decisions have been made about the types of lighting fixtures that will be
used on different areas of the Grounds. Finally location and standardization of newspaper boxes have been
A significant number of new planting projects have been accomplished. The most important tree was a
Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) planted in memory of Mrs. Jeffress, a long-term supporter of landscaping
improvements around the University. A very large number of new trees have been planted in the parking lots
around Scott Stadium and along Whitehead Road, the latter group financed by a joint arrangement between the
Committee, the Athletic Department, and Parking and Transportation. Other important plantings are at Sponsors
Hall, Garrett Hall, and the University Press on Old Ivy Road. The construction and planting of the entrance
gateway to Madison Hall is underway.
Several major projects are in the planning stage or are projected. The most important one is probably the
terrace between Monroe Hall and Newcomb Hall. After much tentative planning, thwarted by uncertainties over
building projects in the vicinity and by lack of funds, there is some movement in the project. It seems likely that
joint efforts by the Committee, the Commerce School, and Physical Plant may finally produce results.
Still in the planning stage is the landscaping of Sprigg Lane, where redesign of the walks and planting of
street trees will make a great contribution to the amenity of the neighborhood. Even further away is action on the
Maury Avenue-Alderman Road entry to the University, a "back door" used by large numbers of visitors,
especially on football weekends.
Despite this general air of movement and accomplishment, some intractable problems remain for the
Committee to try to solve. We continue to suffer from the actions of individual entrepreneurs around the
University. In the past year one can cite the loss of the huge Willow Oak at Blue Ridge Hospital, the cutting of
several trees at Sponsors Hall, and the construction of gates at the Birdwood golf course without approval. The
Committee needs to continue its educational campaign.
Finally, one might call attention to some of the remaining problems of building and landscaping. Paramount
is the question of the siting of the new Science Library and the related questions of the use of the Hough House
site. Another critical area is Dawson's Row, about which EDAW has made some excellent suggestions in its
report. Then there are the "gateways" on 250 West, Alderman Road, and the approaches to the new hospital. All
these provide significant challenges for the future.
The Committee plans to remain active over the summer, meeting at least monthly to keep abreast of the
issues. It will continue until the new committee is appointed.
J.J. Murray, Jr., Co-Chairman