March 30-April 5, 2001
Back Issues
Board committee endorses nearly $1 billion building plan
University continues reorganization of top Health System administration
Dave Matthews Band announces second benefit concert in Charlottesville
Breaking bread brings faculty and students together

Notable -- awards and achievements of faculty and staff

Kunitz's poems chronicle passing through the 20th century
Novelist Margot Livesey to be here beginning of April
Hot Links -- Libra, the library's magazine
Off the Shelf -- recently published books by faculty and staff
U.Va. professor recalls growing up in Mississippi during the Civil Rights era
Electronic Text Center will share $1.5 million gift with Monticello
In Memoriam
Two Engineering faculty named AIMBE fellows
Artist's "Galactic Journal" on display
Looking for dark matter, distant stars and extraterrestrial life

Board committee endorses nearly $1 billion building plan

Rebecca Arrington
New Cabell Hall, seen here from a side entrance facing Bryan Hall, and Cocke Hall in the background, are two of the Arts & Sciences buildings slated for renovation in the 2002-08 six-year plan.

By Dan Heuchert

Despite concerns about the unpredictability of state funding, the Board of Visitors'
Buildings and Grounds Committee on March 22 endorsed a $965.2 million, six-year capital spending plan. The full board will vote on the plan at its April 5 through 7 meeting, then forward it to the governor for consideration in the 2002-04 budget process.

The plan — easily the most ambitious in University history — includes renovation, new construction, infrastructure, planning and major maintenance projects for the academic division, the Medical Center, and for U.Va.'s College at Wise. Among the biggest-ticket items: a $111 million replacement for University Hall and an associated parking structure; $54 million to expand the University Hospital; $46 million to build a new medical research building, dubbed "MR-6"; $45 million for the Digital Academical Village project, and another $45 million for its associated residential college; $30 million to replace the Bayly Art Museum; and $50 million for a new science building.

The capital plan also includes nearly $40 million in funding for much-needed renovations to the main Arts & Sciences buildings — Cocke, Rouss and new Cabell halls. The entire $26 million for the new Cabell Hall renovation was moved into the 2002-08 plan; original plans called for completing half of the project after 2008.
"Our buildings are the oldest on Grounds, and generally in the worst shape," said Arts & Sciences dean Melvyn P. Leffler. "There is less room per student than anywhere else. It's appropriate to address these priorities."

Arts & Sciences recently initiated its own foundation and Leffler said alumni response to fund-raising appeals has been promising. "Our foundation has really focused attention on this, and they show enormous enthusiasm for addressing the infrastructure," he said.

The replacement arena will likely hsave multiple uses and the parking garage would be shared with the new arts precinct. The plan calls for construction to be financed through University-issued bonds, to be repaid mostly through gifts, student and parking fees and ticket sales.

The capital plan seeks $354.9 million in state funds over the next six years, with the balance to be raised from other sources. However, the prospects for receiving all of the state money requested are very dim, University officials said, particularly in light of what may be a souring economy and a statewide accumulation of backlogged projects.

"Is this something that we ought to try to solve ourselves, instead of waiting for the state to solve it?," asked board member William H. Goodwin Jr. The capital projects list "looks like it is important to the University. It's not just paper — it has some substance to it."

University President John. T. Casteen III said that the state has funded just 15 percent of construction projects at the University over the past decade.
"The question may be how to do better what we already know how to do," he said. "We've done more building in the past decade than at any other time in history and financed most of it locally."

Casteen noted that the governor's proposed budget which has not yet made it out of the deadlocked General Assembly included a capital bond issue. He predicted that the idea might surface again when the legislature convenes in 2002, although the total bond amount may fall well short of the needs statewide, which he estimated at $2.5 billion. "The largest amount I've heard of is $700 million," he said.

By contrast, North Carolina voters recently overwhelmingly approved a $3 billion bond issue to serve higher education.

Board members also floated alternate funding options, including seeking authority from the state to levy additional student fees or dipping into the endowment, although the latter option received little support. Board members and University officials agreed to study the issue further.

A list of the projects included in the six-year capital plan is available for viewing online with Adobe Acrobat Reader at Grounds.html; click on "Materials." You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the information. Completing the New Cabell Hall renovation by 2008 was the only change from this document.


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