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
fall, citizens are being asked to make another investment in the
future of higher education.
Bond package to spur research
MR-6 is slated to cure lack of laboratory space
This is the last in a series.
have only just hung their nameplates and become familiar with
the corridors of the Medical Research 5 facility, and already
the ink is dry on plans for a companion building on the grounds
of U.Va. Health System.
for MR-6 envision a multi-story building housing 60 lead researchers
and 240 of their colleagues in biomedical research programs focusing
on cancer, infectious diseases, allergy and immunology.
building would provide an additional 183,000 square feet for University
medical researchers, space that administrators say will allow
U.Va to recruit leading scientists and secure more government
U.Va. bond projects
MR-6, a new structure for advances in immunology,
infectious diseases and cancer research: $24.2 million (total:
$14.3 million for a new Arts & Sciences building. Part
of the $125 million South Lawn Project, the building will
house eight of the Colleges 26 departments and contain
digitally equipped classrooms serving the entire University.
A nanotechnology and materials science and engineering building
to foster technological innovations: $7 million (total:
Renovation of teaching labs in Gilmer Hall to support instruction
in biology and psychology: $5.7 million
Renovation of Fayerweather Hall, a 19th-century gym now
housing the McIntire Department of Art: $4.6 million
A new science/engineering chiller plant to provide cooling
for new construction and replace outdated CFC-based technology:
Replacing the Campbell Hall chiller to increase capacity
for new construction and replace chronically malfunctioning
equipment: $1.6 million
Upgrading the Cavalier substation to increase U.Va.s
electrical capacity: $4.7 million
Constructing a regional storm-water management system for
McCormick and North Grounds, including restoring Meadow
Creek and building a pond near the arena: $1.4 million.
The higher education bond referendum on the Nov. 5 ballot
Shall Chapter 859, Acts of the General Assembly of 2002,
authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds of
the Commonwealth of Virginia in the maximum amount of $900,488,645
pursuant to Article X, Section 9(b) of the Constitution
of Virginia for capital projects for educational facilities,
space is one of the main currencies in academic medicine
to many, more valuable than money, said Dr. Arthur Tim
Garson Jr., vice president and dean of the Medical
School. We are stretched here at U.Va. beyond reasonable
bounds, with individual researchers having about half as much
space as in other fine institutions nationally.
before the plans turn to brick and mortar, Virginia voters must
turn out on Nov. 5 and approve a $900 million bond issue that
contains $846 million for higher education. The amount includes
$68.3 million for U.Va. projects, $24.2 million of which is earmarked
for MR-6. An additional $25 million in non-governmental funds
is committed to the project but not yet secured.
officers describe MR-6 as the first step in a chain reaction
leading to new preventions, treatments and cures for disease.
But researchers are impeded by a shortage of quality space.
grants from the National Institutes of Health have had to be turned
down because of lack of space.
are bursting at the seams, said Gary K. Owens, associate
dean of graduate and medical scientist programs. There is
no place to expand to hold clinical trials on the ground-breaking
work that is being done here. U.Va. is poised to make a difference,
but if the bond is not passed, the building will not get built,
the clinical trials will not happen, and people will die who did
not need to die.
addition to health benefits, the rewards of investing in infrastructure
can be seen in the many local biotech firms born of U.Va. research
programs. Studies show that for every $1 million in federal grants
to the University, 36 new jobs are created.
the state makes a wise investment with us, we'll fill the building
to advance the human condition and to solve health problems that
plague the world, said Barry M. Gumbiner, chair of the Department
of Cell Biology in the Medical School. MR-6 is the key to
our moving forward, but it is just the beginning.
in research fits the University's goals
By Fariss Samarrai
Virginia is to compete in the nations information technology
and biotechnology economies, its universities will need greater
state support and closer ties to industry, said Gene D. Block,
vice president and
cannot grow a strong technology economy without the anchors of
universities that are strong in the sciences and technology,
he said. We will need clear support from the citizens and
the state government to do that.
said passage of the Nov. 5 referendum, which includes funds for
the MR-6 facility and the Materials Science Engineering and Nanotechnology
Building, is crucial to alleviating lab space shortages and, ultimately,
to growing a solid high-tech economy around a strong research
bond package includes $24.2 million for MR-6 and $7 million toward
the nanotechnology building, which will provide 100,000 square
feet of new classroom, laboratory and support space for teaching
and research in the understanding, design and development of unique
is the engineering of extremely small and complex devices for
a variety of uses, from computers to biomedicine. Nanoscale devices
are measured at the atomic level, the nanoscale about 10,000
times smaller than the width of a human hair. The two new research
buildings will add nearly 300,000 feet of space.
bond package is the only remedy available to help us grow, to
allow us to construct the lab space needed to be fully competitive
for research grants, Block said. We have a $1.2 billion
endowment, but much of that is foundation money for specific purposes.
Only a small portion is for unrestricted use.
said that state support through the bond package sends a message
to donors, students, their parents, industry and federal funding
agencies that the state is committed to higher education research.
The Virginia 2020 Science and Technology Planning Commission
recommended that nanotechnology and biomedical research should
be focus areas. The new buildings will be a first step toward
realizing our goals.
is concerned, however, that if the bond package does not pass,
it would send a bad message to constituents.
will be some demoralization, some faculty members and donors may
lose faith in the citizens commitment to research and higher
education, he said.
noted that the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
emphasized in a recent report that the state should invest in
research facilities and start-up funds, and increase faculty salaries.
has a tradition of excellence in the humanities, Block said, and
a tradition of excellence in science and technology is the next
step. We want to protect areas of excellence, such as the
humanities, while we continue to build our strength in the sciences