decade ago, the citizens of Virginia turned out in record numbers
to endorse a higher education bond issue by a 3-to-1 margin. This
support for construction and renovation reflected a keen understanding
of the need for additional space to provide better resources for
teaching and medical research. This fall, citizens are being asked
to make another investment in the future of higher education.
Infrastructure not glamorous but
a vital part of bond package
drawing shows how Meadow Creek may look in Nameless Field,
adjacent to the U.Va.
Bookstore and parking garage (background). Returning the
creek to ground level is part of the storm-water management
This is the fourth in a series.
U.Va. infrastructure projects included in Novembers statewide
higher education bond referendum arent sexy: chiller plants,
electrical substations, storm-water management.
ask Cheryl Gomez, director of utilities at Facilities
Management, what happens if the referendum fails, and her
reply gets your attention pretty quickly.
the near term, power outages and air-conditioning failures could
become more common. In the long term, schools could see surcharges
on new construction to support infrastructure capacity, which
could affect the size, timing and eventual use of new buildings.
understand the importance of the infrastructure items on the ballots,
it helps to understand U.Va.s utility systems.
units cool most of the University. The cold water they produce
circulates through nearby buildings via one of seven regional
loops, a system that Vice President of Management and Budget Colette
Sheehy touts as being more efficient than maintaining separate
chillers for each building. Having multiple chillers on each loop
provides backup should one chiller plant fail, she said.
a clever system, but one that is being strained by the Universitys
instance, the bond package includes $1.6 million to replace the
chiller at Campbell Hall, currently the only one serving the Carrs
Hill loop. That unit has actually been out of service for much
of the summer, Gomez said, despite some $50,000 spent to repair
multiple problems. A portable unit is working in its place, but
its noise has caused neighbors to complain.
will vote on whether to provide $846 million in bonds for
educational facilities. That total includes $68.3 million
toward the following facilities and improvements at U.Va.
(the balance will be funded by private gifts or through
(Medical Research Building), a new structure for advances
in immunology, infectious diseases and cancer research:
$24.2 million (total cost: $50 million)
million for a new Arts & Sciences building. Part of
the $125 million South Lawn Project, the building will house
13 of the Colleges 26 departments and will contain
digitally equipped classrooms serving the entire University.
new nanotechnology and materials science and engineering
building to foster technological innovations: $7 million
(total cost: $34 million)
of teaching laboratories in Gilmer Hall to support instruction
in biology and psychology: $5.7 million
of Fayerweather Hall, a 19th-century gymnasium now housing
the McIntire Department of Art: $4.6 million
new engineering/science chiller plant to provide cooling
for new construction and replace outdated CFC-based technology:
the Campbell Hall chiller to increase capacity for new construction
and replace chronically malfunctioning equipment: $1.6 million
the Cavalier substation to increase the Universitys
electrical capacity: $4.7 million
a regional storm-water management system for McCormick and
North Grounds, including restoring Meadow Creek and constructing
a pond: $1.4 million.
replacement would have 50 percent greater capacity, in order to
serve the planned studio arts building. Additional chillers will
eventually be needed to cool the expanding Arts Precinct, Gomez
bond package also includes a new $4.8 million chiller plant under
the forthcoming Aquatics and Fitness Center addition, to help
accommodate anticipated new loads in that area, including the
Materials Science Engineering and Nanotechnology Building and
a dining hall.
is a real critical loop, because it is where all the science research
occurs, Gomez said.
She hopes the new plant the third on the McCormick chiller
loop will allow the University to phase out an aging chiller
in Olsson Hall. The Campbell Hall unit and the Olsson chiller
use chlorofluorocarbon-based refrigerants, or CFCs, implicated
in ozone depletion and global warming.
the chiller loop system, the Universitys electricity is
funneled through five regional substations, each of which powers
several nearby buildings.
bond package includes $4.7 million to double the capacity of the
heavily burdened Cavalier substation, located near the Medical
Center, in order to serve new buildings and allow the eventual
phaseout of the current East End substation, Gomez said.
East End station, serving the Health
System and portions of Central Grounds, provides lower voltage
than modern facilities. New parts are no longer being manufactured
for it, so replacements must usually be purchased secondhand,
final infrastructure element in the bond package is the Universitys
first-ever regional storm-water management plan.
such plans have been done piecemeal as new buildings are constructed,
Gomez said. By law, measures must be taken to mitigate the effects
of water running off of impermeable surfaces like roofs and parking
lots, limiting erosion and the spread of pollutants, she explained.
regional plan would serve the Meadow Creek watershed. The creek
now disappears into pipes underneath the Dell area near Ruffner
Hall, then flows under Emmet Street, behind the parking garage,
Memorial Gym and Nameless Field, under University Avenue and Carrs
Hill field before resurfacing near the Lambeth Field apartments.
$1.4 million storm-water management plan calls for bringing Meadow
Creek back to the surface through much of that path, then feeding
it into a small pond between the proposed new basketball arena
and Emmet Street, Gomez said.
the philosophy behind the plan, Gomez said storm water is
not something we want to get into a pipe and get out of here as
soon as we can, but something to celebrate and enjoy.
all, the infrastructure projects add up to about $12.5 million
of the Universitys $68.3 million portion of the higher education
bond referendum a number that got some faculty members
attention, Sheehy said.
be honest with you, the provost got a little grief from some of
the faculty, who look at the list of the projects that were approved
and see $12 million for infrastructure and say, Wow! You
know, we could have another building for that, she
said. But they have to have those projects
without them, the buildings that are being built would not operate.