Jefferson understood that a university's buildings are a clear expression of its aims and aspirations and that its educational quality is directly related to the character and arrangement of its dormitories, classrooms, laboratories, and libraries. We have emulated his example as we build a University for the twenty-first century.
U.Va. Marks the 100th Anniversary of the Rotunda Fire
The destruction of the Rotunda by fire on October 27, 1895, marked the
beginning of the University's modern era. For years the growth of the
University's library, housed in the Rotunda, was constrained by its size, and
the faculty had recommended that it be moved to a larger, fireproof building,
although no action was taken. Indeed, the meagerness of the University's
collection was simply an indication of how far the University had fallen from
Jefferson's vision of U.Va. as a national university in Virginia.
The Rotunda fire, coinciding as it did with the South's recovery from the Civil
War, sparked a renewed determination to achieve Jefferson's vision. With the
assistance of friends and alumni across the Commonwealth, the Board of Visitors
engaged the preeminent architect of the time -- Stanford White -- not simply to
rebuild the Rotunda but to add three buildings at the south end of the Lawn.
The Rotunda fire, coinciding as it did with the South's recovery from the Civil War, sparked a renewed determination to achieve Jefferson's vision. With the assistance of friends and alumni across the Commonwealth, the Board of Visitors engaged the preeminent architect of the time -- Stanford White -- not simply to rebuild the Rotunda but to add three buildings at the south end of the Lawn.
As the graduate business school moved to its building, construction began on the new Law Grounds, linking Withers Hall, the current law school building, to Slaughter Hall, the former Darden School building. The $25 million Law Grounds project, scheduled for completion by fall 1997, will expand and renovate the law school, recapturing the sense of place and community that Thomas Jefferson deemed so important. In addition to providing critical classroom and office space, expanding the library, and creating new moot-court rooms, a computer laboratory, and other student amenities, the project will allow the law school to launch new curricular initiatives and increase the size of its faculty.
On Central Grounds, Newcomb Hall -- the student union building -- is being renovated and reorganized to provide clearer circulation patterns, modernized infrastructure, and additional space for student activities offices, dining, meeting, and conference rooms.
In recognition of the growing importance of foreign languages in the curriculum, the University renovated the Snowden faculty apartments for use as the Spanish House. The twenty-four upperclass students in residence speak Spanish in all common areas, including the kitchen and dining room, and share at least four dinners together weekly. Like the French House next door, the Spanish House hosts a variety of cultural activities during the school year.
The University expanded its recreation and fitness facilities with the opening of the state-of-the-art $18.5 million Aquatics and Fitness Center, a 98,500-square-foot facility near Scott Stadium. The new building contains three pools, two floors of workout equipment, "wet" and "dry" classrooms, a multipurpose room, snack bar, and campus shop. An addition with three basketball courts and an elevated jogging track is being planned.
The new 38,000-square-foot Cauthen House has the distinction of being the only first-year residence with a public area that includes classrooms and a computer lab. In another innovation, access to the residential levels now requires a key card, rather than a conventional key. The dorm is named after Irby B. Cauthen, Jr., professor of English and longtime dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who was widely respected not only for his abilities as a teacher and scholar, but also for his fairness and kindness to students.
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