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Community briefed on U.Va.’s plans for growth
Ed Ayers (left, rear and Leonard W. Sandridge (left, foreground)chat with local residents after presenting the University’s master plan at a community meeting held June 17.
Photo by Peggy Harrison
Ed Ayers (left, rear and Leonard W. Sandridge (left, foreground)chat with local residents after presenting the University’s master plan at a community meeting held June 17.

By Lee Graves

U.Va. officials shared their vision of the University’s growth over the next several decades with nearly 200 area residents who attended a community briefing June 17.

Flanked by colorful schematics, detailed maps and computer projections of the University’s master plan, residents listened as Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Edward L. Ayers, dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, outlined initiatives ranging from practical improvements to the University’s heating plant to the dramatic sweep of the South Lawn project.

The briefing, an outreach effort spearheaded by the University’s Community Relations Office, and the master plan drew praise from several residents.
“I would like to congratulate you all for having the superb vision in extending the heritage that we’ve got here,” said one resident during the question-and-answer session.

Sandridge emphasized that the University’s master plan promotes infill development to avoid sprawl.

“For the next 20 to 25 years, we can accommodate the growth we envision essentially in what you and I call the University’s [Central] Grounds today,” he said.

The building program is expected to give a booster shot to the local economy, creating $1.1 billion in economic activity and 1,450 jobs over the next three years. About 75 percent of the money spent on construction will stay within the community, Sandridge said.

In addition to infill construction, Sandridge said the master plan stresses several principles: integrating academic, residential and recreational elements; creating a walking environment around Grounds; being responsible to the community and the Commonwealth in maximizing access to the Medical Center; and concentrating parking facilities in three areas with access to main highways.

While research and health care have driven growth over the last decade, Sandridge said, enrollment will be a third stimulus in the next decade. Education officials have predicted statewide growth of nearly 32,000 additional students by 2010, and U.Va. can expect anywhere from 400 to 700 more students over the next six or seven years.

Keeping up with student growth has been one of the prime motivations driving the South Lawn project, Ayers said. The $160 million initiative, which envisions a plaza extending south from Old Cabell Hall with a terrace crossing Jefferson Park Avenue to a tiered ensemble of buildings, will create more than 300,000 square feet of space to accommodate 12,000 student visits per day.

“This is where much of the teaching of the University will take place,” Ayers said.
It also opens the southern part of the University to the community, providing a much more welcoming approach than the brick walls and traffic snarls that greet visitors.

Ayers and Sandridge both warned residents that the timing of many projects depends on funding, so tying construction to specific dates is difficult.

Concerns raised during the question-and-answer period ranged from federal funding for road projects to the need for student housing. Marcia Childress, chairwoman-elect of the Faculty Senate, asked if there were any plans for a conference center. Sandridge said one was not in the immediate plans and the University would look to the private sector, with facilities such as the Omni or Boar’s Head, for accommodations.


In addition to the South Lawn, some of the major projects, with status, costs and expected completion dates, are at right:
(For more details, see the master plan Web site at http://www.virginia.edu/architectoffice/masterplan.html)

Athletic Precinct/
Emmet Street

• Under construction — Ivy/Emmet street garage, $15.7 million, October 2003;
Emmet Street pedestrian bridge, $3.2 million, December 2003; the John Paul Jones Arena (which includes a parking garage and stormwater management work), $129.8 million, June 2006.

• In design —(Awaiting full funding) Performing Arts
Center, $47 million, January 2007.

Arts Grounds

• n In design — Fayerweather Hall renovation, $5.4 million, July 2005; Studio Art Building, $12.5 million, December 2006;

• In design —(Awaiting full funding) Campbell Hall addition (date to be determined).

Central Grounds

• Under construction — Special Collections Library, $26 million, March 2004.

• In design — Cocke Hall renovation, $6 million, December 2005.

• In design —(Awaiting full funding) Rouss Hall renovation and expansion, $43
million (date to be determined).

Health System

• Under construction — Hospital expansion, $58 million, March 2006.

• In design — South parking garage, $8.2 million, June 2004;
improvements to main heating plant, $50 million, February 2008.

n In design —(Awaiting full funding) Medical Research Building (MR-6), $60.8
million (date to be determined).

McCormick Road

• Under construction — Clark Hall renovation and addition, $39 million, June 2003; Materials Research Science & Engineering Center, $38.9 million, December 2005.

Alderman Road/Observatory Hill

• Under construction — Aquatics & Fitness Center addition, $10.4 million,
January 2004; Observatory Hill
dining facility, $22 million, July 2004; National Radio Astronomy Observatory addition and renovation, $8.9 million, October 2004.


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