Aging buildings, gleaming
visions factored into bond package
The signs tell a story.
Brooks Hall, where leaks and water damage are a constant problem,
a sign outside a restroom reads: Archival material is in
the room below. DO NOT get water on the floor.
New Cabell Hall, the ceiling in one classroom is spotted with
four pizza-size brown splotches from leaks. One looks fresh.
classroom repair, please dial FIXIT 3-4948,
says a sign by the door.
no sign outside an office in Cocke Hall. The space reeks of mildew,
despite the rattle of a dehumidifier going full blast in the corner.
Because of the conditions, the professor prefers to hang his hat
at Alderman Library, said Joe Grasso, associate dean of planning
and operations for the College of Arts & Sciences.
faculty work at home because of the poor conditions, Grasso
said during a summertime tour of the facilities. That makes it
more difficult for students to drop by and undercuts a sense of
community among faculty.
New Cabell and Cocke halls are not included in a Nov. 5 bond referendum
that would provide $68.3 million for projects at U.Va. and $846
million for educational facilities around the state. But the plight
of these and other buildings is symptomatic of why officials say
the issue is so vital to U.Va. and other schools in the Commonwealth.
maintenance has turned into a massive problem for the state,
said U.Va. President John T. Casteen III.
a recent assessment of space needs for U.Va.s College of
Arts & Sciences, consultants concluded, Antiquated building
infrastructure, poor ventilation, limited electrical capacity
and overcrowding interfere with instruction and create uncomfortable
work environments for faculty and staff throughout the College.
the sciences and the fine and performing arts, many facilities
are inadequate to support state-of-the-art technology and experimentation.
The problems render some research and teaching laboratories and
studios genuinely dysfunctional, a number of them dangerously
so, the assessment says.
a deep breath in the acrid darkroom of the photo lab in the basement
of Fayerweather Hall. Take a long look at the grimy ceilings and
rusted shelving in some biology labs in Gilmer Hall. They are
we want to maintain our position in American public higher education,
we simply have no choice but to increase and improve the quality
of the space in which we do our basic work, said Edward
L. Ayers, dean of the College.
and Gilmer will receive money if the referendum is approved. Fayerweather,
originally a gymnasium built 105 years ago and now housing the
McIntire Department of Art, would get $4.6 million for renovations.
Gilmer, built in the 1960s, would receive $5.7 million to continue
renovations under way.
in the bond referendum is far from meeting the Universitys
needs to maintain existing space and accommodate growth. But it
is vital both in terms of supplying immediate dollars and generating
money is critical in leveraging private gifts, said Grasso.
the Medical Research 6 building, which is U.Va.s top dollar
item in the referendum. The total cost is $50 million, about $24.2
million of which would come through the bond issue. But $5 million
of the remaining private money is contingent on state funding.
promise of MR-6 is matched by two other building projects in the
package the nanotechnology and materials science and engineering
building, and the South Lawn project. The latter represents a
particularly bold vision, with terraced areas stepping below Old
Cabell Hall in true Jeffersonian fashion. Such facilities would
help attract top faculty and students and enhance the Universitys
maintaining an edge on the future is important, so is the need
to keep up facilities maintenance. The bond issue includes $12.5
million to upgrade storm-water systems, chillers and
other basic infrastructure.
have to have those projects
because without them, the buildings
that are being built would not operate, said Cheryl Gomez,
director of utilities at Facilities Management.
the press of repairs, renovations, maintenance and modernizing,
officials predict a bulge in attendance at state colleges and
universities in coming years. The State Council of Higher Education
for Virginia projects 11 percent growth during the decade at public
four-year universities. U.Va.s growth rate from 1990 to
2005 pales in comparison at 6.1 percent, but growth is growth.
the projected enrollment growth would be nearly impossible with
the Colleges current facilities, Grasso said.