leaders grapple with state of Arts & Sciences buildings
by Rebecca Arrington
Hall, built 102 years ago, houses the economics department
and University classrooms.
University's Academical Village is recognized internationally
as an architectural treasure. Its historic buildings are named
to the prestigious World Heritage List. Yet the interiors of many
of the Stanford White-designed buildings at the south end of this
complex -- namely Cocke and Rouss halls -- and new Cabell are
in dire need of repair. In fact, 12 of the Arts
& Sciences 22 buildings throughout the Grounds are in fair
or poor condition, according to the University's most recent facilities
condition index report.
need to focus on enhancing our physical infrastructure,"
the needs of which consistently receive inadequate support from
the state, said Arts & Sciences Dean Melvyn P. Leffler. To that
end, the University has formed the College Foundation to increase
private funding. The foundation's newly formed Buildings and Grounds
Committee will meet later this month for the first time to assess
A&S physical plant needs and develop a strategy for implementing
Cabell Hall was built in the 1950s to join Stanford White's
historic Old Cabell Hall.
also created a new position of associate dean for planning and
operations, filled recently by Joseph Grasso, former vice president
of finance and administration at Allegheny College and budget
director at Colgate University. Grasso will plan and manage capital
renovation of Arts
& Sciences facilities, working closely with the College Foundation
and the A&S development office, as well as with the University
believe the state has a moral obligation to renovate and maintain
its buildings," Grasso said. "But due to its lack of
systematic support, the College must take responsibility for raising
private funds to meet its building needs."
he and Colette Sheehy, vice president for management and budget,
agree that raising money for maintenance will prove challenging.
The need is great, as is reflected in the facilities condition
index report, produced by Facilities Management and used as a
guideline by the state in calculating agencies' maintenance reserve
funds, Sheehy said. Any building exceeding a 10 percent index
rating, determined by dividing the deferred maintenance needs
by the replacement value of the building, is considered fair or
poor. However, despite the report, "the state doesn't provide
adequate funding for maintenance needs," she said. Currently
there's a $90 million backlog in deferred maintenance University-wide,
and an $18.4 million maintenance reserve deficiency for Arts &
broken window in Cocke Hall.
A&S buildings, Rouss Hall tops the condition report with an index
of 43.1 percent. The average index of A&S buildings is 16.4 percent,
and the average age of these buildings is 60 years. Rouss, Cocke,
Fayerweather and new Cabell have been on the list submitted to
the state for some 10 years and Gilmer for four, said capital
budget manager Tom LeBack.
president and vice presidents prioritize U.Va.'s capital outlay
plan, which includes the needs of Arts & Sciences, as well as
the University's other nine schools, Sheehy said. Following approval
from the Board of Visitors, the University submits its plan to
the state every six years, and updates it every two years. Grasso
cited North Carolina as a good model of a state committed to higher
education. Over the next 6 years, thanks to a $3.1 billion bond
act, UNC-Chapel Hill will receive $500 million, with $165 million
of that total earmarked for arts and sciences initiatives. "Because
of North Carolina's concerted effort to invest in its higher education
facilities, UNC-Chapel Hill will be in a much stronger position
in relation to its peer institutions" in the near future,
he said. "The quality of its facilities may give it a serious
advantage over its peers in attracting the best faculty, researchers
lists 'old house' problems
members who have to "live" in the University's
older buildings, such as Rouss, Cocke and new Cabell halls
where their departments or classes are housed, can easily
list the problems resulting from insufficient resources
for renovation and maintenance. Lack of space for classes,
offices, conference rooms and commons areas are some of
the concerns, as well as areas prone to flooding, doubling
up of faculty offices, and classrooms in which the desks
are bolted to the floor.
studies chair Harry Gamble said the headquarters of his
department in the "nether regions" of Cocke Hall,
"presents a thoroughly subterranean aspect: exposed
pipes and wires, utility closets, painted-over windows and
dingy walls. Such environs depress the morale of faculty
and students alike, surprise visitors, deter prospective
students, and belie the standing of the department."
What worries economics chair William Johnson is that "we
have lost potential faculty recruits when they saw the inside
of Rouss." Built in 1899 as a physics lab, it has not
been substantially refurbished since the early 1950s.
new Cabell Hall, "it's impossible to get classroom
space to meet pedagogical needs," said Jeff Legro,
interim chair of government and foreign affairs. "There's
simply no space to meet the demand. The number of students
in our department keeps going up, but the space available
8-foot-by-12-foot room in Cocke Hall serves as the office
for some 25 graduate teaching assistants in religious studies.
Virginia House of Delegates recently approved a referendum that,
if passed by the Senate, would have voters consider an $803 million
bond issue this fall for higher education capital projects. Up
to now, U.Va. has received $108 million from the state in capital
funding over the past 14 years (exclusive of the state's reserve
maintenance fund for basic repairs). Of this amount, the College
has received $49 million during this time. Only one new A&S building,
Bryan Hall, has been built in the past 25 years, Grasso noted.
is embarrassing when parents and students tell me that their high
schools were in better shape than our buildings and provided a
more conducive atmosphere for learning and studying," Leffler
said. "It is disconcerting when faculty question whether
they should stay or come here given the state of their offices
is encouraged, however, by the plans for the arts precinct and
the new technology center. "I am enthusiastically planning
for the Digital Academical Village -- the College's VA 2020 information
technology 'bridge center' for the humanities and social sciences.
...We have raised $35 million in private money so far."
Digital Academical Village, which the College hopes to build within
three to four years, will provide temporary space for occupants
as other A&S buildings undergo renovation, Grasso said. "If
we don't renovate our core buildings, departments will have an
increasingly difficult time attracting the highest quality researchers
and faculty, as well as students."