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University of Virginia
The Changing Face of the University
 
UVa Cabell Hall

At an institution as conscious of its architectural heritage as the University of Virginia, buildings are built and maintained with care. When William Thornton, architect of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., reviewed Thomas Jefferson's plans for the University of Virginia he noted, "This plan of yours is I think admirably calculated for almost indefinite extension." The University has continued to coordinate planning for preserving historic buildings on the Grounds while building new facilities to meet the requirements for higher education and research today.

Taken individually, the assortment of major buildings now being constructed across the Grounds addresses pressing needs. Collectively, they represent an ambitious effort to position the University for leadership in the twenty-first century. The University's goal is to create settings that promote continual interaction among students and faculty, offer open spaces for inspiration and recreation, and support the finest teaching, research, and patient care.

Anticipating the Growing Need for Medical Care

In response to the national shortage of nurses, the School of Nursing is expanding to increase its space and provide a richer, more comprehensive educational experience to its students. The Claude Moore Nursing Education Building opened in time for students arriving at the University for the fall 2008 semester. The building added 32,000 square feet of lecture halls, classrooms, meeting rooms, and common spaces. Across the street, construction began on the Claude Moore Medical Education Building, which will meet the School of Medicine's need for modern, consolidated facilities and will support technology-enhanced teaching methods that improve the way medical students learn.

In anticipation of the growing need for medical care, construction at the U.Va. Medical Center continues. The parking garage that stood on the site of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center has been demolished and construction has begun, with completion scheduled for 2011. At the same time, planning is under way to extend the front of the U.Va. Hospital thirty-four feet toward Lee Street, making it possible to add seventy-two private patient rooms by 2011.

Strengthening Research Infrastructure

The Carter-Harrison Research Building rising behind Jordan Hall responds to another pressing need. One of the largest constraints the University faces in its efforts to strengthen its science programs is laboratory space. This building — and the Snyder Translational Research Building and Life Sciences Annex nearing completion at the University's Fontaine Research Park — will help to overcome this limitation.

The Board of Visitors has endorsed three other construction projects that will add more than 300,000 square feet to U.Va. laboratories. One project is a 100,000-square-foot facility for physical and life sciences research adjacent to the chemistry annex. The other two projects involve significant expansions to planned research facilities for the Medical School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Classrooms for the Digital Age

The University has also embarked on a series of projects that redefine the traditional classroom to take advantage of new technology and reorganize and expand academic areas. This year, the McIntire School of Commerce moved to its new home on the Lawn. Its 156,000-square-foot facility is composed of historic Rouss Hall, which appears unchanged from the Lawn, and Robertson Hall, named for financier Julian H. Robertson, Jr., and his wife, Josie. Mr. Robertson's portégé, John A. Griffin (McIntire '85), made the gift to name the building in honor of his mentor. The new facility includes state-of-the-art class presentation technology as well as areas conducive to community, interdisciplinary learning, and faculty-student interaction.

The South Lawn Project is integral to the College's plan to expand its faculty so that it can increase class offerings and reduce class sizes. Phase I, now in progress, consists of three buildings housing history, politics, and religious studies. It will be linked to Central Grounds by a landscaped plaza spanning Jefferson Park Avenue. Governor Timothy M. Kaine and the General Assembly included the funding required to renovate New Cabell Hall across Jefferson Park Avenue in his proposed bond package for higher education.

UVa Cabell Hall

Ruffner Hall, home of the Curry School of Education, has become so crowded that faculty members must find off-Grounds space to conduct their research. The new four-story Bavaro Hall being built adjacent to Ruffner will nearly double the space available to the school.

The School of Architecture faced similar constraints. Campbell Hall houses one of the nation's leading architecture and landscape architecture departments, as well as distinguished programs in architectural history and urban and environmental planning. The school has, however, more than doubled its enrollment since moving into the building more than thirty years ago, and space is at a premium. Additions just completed include a new entry tower housing flexible exhibition space, rooms for reviewing student work, and, to the south, a bank of twenty-six faculty offices that are linked to nearby studios and teaching spaces.

In other cases, new construction will bring departments together for the first time. Newly completed Ruffin Hall will enable the studio art program to meet more of the growing demand for its courses by bringing together all of its classrooms and faculty offices, now scattered among several locations on Central Grounds. Envisioned as a village for the arts, Ruffin Hall includes windows that allow abundant natural light and freight elevators for moving large objects. The building holds studios designed specifically for the teaching of painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, performance art, and digital media.

Building to Plan

Thomas Jefferson's original Academical Village is an exemplar of coherent planning. It is an ideal setting in which to nurture the mind and promote social interaction. In looking ahead to the needs of the future, the University's leaders are guided by Jefferson's belief that the principles that shape the physical character of the institution are derived from the principles that guide its academic undertakings. The vision for the Grounds includes integrating academic, residential, and recreational uses into multiuse zones, reconnecting all sectors of the University Grounds, creating a walking environment, and engaging the surrounding community.

Building Sustainability

In 2006, the University released its Guidelines for Sustainable Buildings and Environmental Design, which established a sustainable approach to campus planning, facilities design, and resource management. Following the Board of Visitors' commitment in 2007 to LEED certify all new building projects and renovations, the University currently has twenty-four projects seeking LEED certification. The South Lawn Project, which will be among the first U.Va. facilities to receive LEED certification, is on track for achieving high standards of energy efficiency, sustainability in site planning, water protection, conservation of materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. The $105 million project is scheduled to open in 2010.

 

 

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