Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 1999

U.Va. remains in top 25 in U.S. News rankings

U.Va. offers nation's first Master of Arts in Physics Education
U.Va. construction: 183 years, and counting
Researchers make strides over the summer

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University construction: 183 years, and counting

By Dan Heuchert

Rebecca Arrington
The new lower bowl of seating around the south end zone will net 3,147 new seats for the coming football season, while underneath, new locker room and media facilities are nearing completion.

Thomas Jefferson broke ground for the University of Virginia in 1816 and construction has continued ever since. This summer -- the high season for construction -- there have been several major projects going on around Grounds.

Scott Stadium expansion

The second phase of Scott Stadium's expansion to 60,000 seats is on target for its required completion date of Sept. 18, when Wake Forest comes to town for the first home football game of the season.

"Everybody in this trailer knows that date," said project manager Richard Laurance. "The rest of the world is thinking about Y2K, but we're thinking about Sept. 18."

The new lower seating bowl in the south end zone, linking the east and west stands, is almost complete, and the post-game press area and locker facilities for the home and visiting teams and game officials should be ready on time. More powerful and more focused lighting is also in place, as is the basic structure for the plaza at the north end of the stadium.

The rest of the $79 million project will not be complete until Sept. 2, 2000, the next red-letter date on Laurance's calendar. A new parking garage off the south end of the stadium is due by October 2000.

Stadium project updates

McCormick Road dorms getting new landscape

The McCormick Road first-year dormitories are getting a new look. A new landscape plan features sidewalks installed further from the dorms and designed with better drainage in mind to prevent freezing in the winter and puddling in warmer times. In October, red oak trees will be planted between the sidewalks and dorms, replacing the former sweet gums, which were unpopular with students because of their spiky seed pods. Bike racks will be moved as part of an effort to create a more "porch-like effect" around each dorm entrance, said Mary Hughes, the University's landscape architect, who helped develop the plan with input from students, Housing and the University's Arboretum Committee.

"Otherwise, the landscape is going to remain pretty open, because the students value the play space," Hughes said.

Alderman dorm on schedule

The walls are up on a new 140-bed Alderman Road residence hall, due to open in August 2000.

The $4.4 million facility is being built behind Lyle and Dunnington houses, sharing an entry road with the most recently completed first-year dorm, Cauthen House, which opened in 1996.

Peabody Hall work begins

Before Miller Hall can be razed to make way for the new Special Collections library to be built on that site, the Office of Admission will move to new quarters in Peabody Hall. But before Peabody can be renovated to house Admission, space had to be readied for several student organizations that formerly called Peabody home.

While planning for the Peabody renovation was completed, the former Newcomb Hall game room was fixed up to accommodate some of the displaced student groups, including the Inter-Fraternity and Inter-Sorority councils and Corks and Curls, said project manager Chris Willis. Lambeth Commons will become the new home of WTJU by late October, Willis said. The Dean of Students' office on the second floor will remain open and functional throughout the renovation.

The $1.3 million Peabody renovation will modify the basement space to serve as Admissionšs working area. The main floor will become a public welcoming center for prospective students, as well as office and meeting space, Willis said. The project should be complete by June 2000. Work on the Special Collections library is scheduled to begin soon after.

Parking garage completed

The 995-space Medical Center parking project opened July 6, said Richard Sergei, assistant to the project manager.

The $14.5 million project took 15 months, but provided a net gain of 600 spaces. The precinct will soon lose approximately 250 spaces, however, when ground is broken for a new biomedical research building and a chiller plant.

Student Health expansion

Workers this summer completed a $2.2 million, two-year expansion and renovation of the Elson Student Health Center, said Don Riggin, senior project manager.

A new two-story wing was occupied in May, providing an additional 14,000 square feet of space for Counseling and Psychological Services, the Learning Needs and Evaluations Center and Health Promotion. Renovations of existing space, to be finished by the end of the month, will improve space for general medicine, gynecology, pharmacy and administrative offices, Riggin said.


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