President John T. Casteen III
Casteen outlines new
arts precinct plan in annual speech
Cabell Auditorium, with its mural reproducing Raphael's "School
of Athens," provided the perfect backdrop for the news President
John T. Casteen III
delivered in his State of the University Address May 3 -- the
progress, to date, on the arts precinct.
his well-attended, two-hour talk, Casteen also covered the budget,
student life, equity issues and facilities, as well as how the
University will take its Virginia 2020 future initiatives plan
from the design to action phase.
arts programs here are operating in buildings that at best are
jury-rigged," Casteen said.
is the last school of its size without a concert hall, he said.
But not for long, if the proposed diagram of the new arts precinct
he displayed becomes reality. The plan includes a studio art building,
which just received state funding of $9 million and is currently
in the design phase; a 600-car parking garage; 40,000 square feet
for a new museum (compared to the Bayly Art Museum's current 18,000
square feet); an addition to the drama building; and a new fine
arts library and amphitheater.
New fine arts library
New fine arts library
Performing Arts Center
Bayly Art Museum
Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library
plan also calls for a 1,500-seat concert hall to be built at Nameless
Field, with a bridge spanning University Avenue to link the performing
arts building to the other structures near the Architecture School
that will make up the precinct.
think this is a good plan, and that we're well on our way to financing
[it]," Casteen said, estimating the project would take at
lease a decade to complete.
on U.Va.'s three other commissions -- International Activities,
Public Service and Outreach, and Science and Technology -- is
ongoing, Casteen reported. Among the initiatives are creating
a science and technology venture fund to "grow" money
to provide grants to faculty in these areas, and conceptualizing
a plan for the much-needed research facilities critical to achieving
advancements in targeted science and technology areas.
on the University's $1.1 billion operating budget, Casteen said
state funding has hardly increased in the past decade. "We're
still playing catch-up following the state's 10 percent cut in
our budget in 1991." This matters, as it's one way the University
is measured against its peer institutions. "We're not a land-grant
university, such as Virginia Tech. On the other side, we're not
privately funded. ... An affirmative statement of what we are
becomes essential to our future."
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is the trendsetter among
U.Va.'s peers, he said. UNC's efforts in regard to state funding
have steadily increased over 25 years, when the legislature backed
the school's efforts to become a national force, he said. Virginia
has not followed a similar funding formula. For example, the state
contributed $11,149 per Virginia student in 1998-99, compared
to $23,089 in state support per student at UNC.
on student life, Casteen announced that Pat Lampkin would be heading
an effort on long-term student-life planning (see story, Lampkin
to focus on future of student life). He also praised the effectiveness
of residential colleges. "We need to develop vehicles for
faculty to interact with students, not just in these colleges,
but in dorms as well. I'd like to see us move forward with more
residential colleges." U.Va. currently has two, Hereford
and Brown, with a third international college slated to open in
the fall of 2001 (see U.Va.'s third residential
college to feature international theme). He noted, too, the
"measurable improvement in alcohol awareness" among
students this past year, and that the student-run Honor System,
"a crucial part of student life here,² is conducting a self-study.
at faculty and staff efforts, Casteen praised the work of the
Task Force on the Status of Women at U.Va. The goal is "to
move us to genuine equity," he said, which doesn't yet exist
here, with 30 percent of the 1,838 faculty members being women
for the group's report). One of the findings that came out of
the April 24 Faculty Senate forum on women's concerns was that
issues of women in the lower levels of the University's staff
were not addressed in the study. That will no longer be the case,
also commended the deans for their "yeoman's service"
in managing their schools' budgets and for their fund-raising
efforts this past year. He paid tribute, as well, to the faculty
now reaching retirement, "who've built the University to
its present place as a top public university."
closing, he said the state of the University is that it's "old,
but not as old as it thinks it is. And excellent, but not as good
as it thinks it is." He's confident, however, that "it's
going to get better," in part because of the support of U.Va.
alumni and friends, many of whom are participating in the University's
Virginia 2020 strategic planning for the future. Their encouraging
message is "plan it, then come back to us," he said.