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Groundbreaking: U.Va. Department Of Environmental Sciences To Begin Construction For Laboratory Building

July 12, 2000 -- A groundbreaking and celebration for the construction of a four-story, 45,000-square-foot addition to the University of Virginia's Clark Hall will be held from 4 to 6 p.m., Thursday, July 13.

James Galloway, chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences, will climb aboard a backhoe and attempt to break ground for the new addition. If all survive, a picnic with music will follow.

The new addition will provide much-needed laboratory and computational space to supplement Clark Hall, which houses the Department of Environmental Sciences and the Science and Engineering Libraries.

The new wing is being financed by a $10 million gift from alumnus Paul Tudor Jones, a donor who has long championed environmental causes. The "Paul Tudor Jones Challenge" requires the University to raise an additional $10 million for endowed professorships, scholarships, fellowships, field and laboratory equipment, and a general department endowment. The gift and additional matching funds will help the department -- considered among the top five in the nation -- sustain its rise in prominence.

The state is providing additional money to renovate the existing portions of Clark Hall.

"We are already an outstanding environmental sciences department," says Galloway. "With nearly 50,000-square-feet of new state-of-the-art building space, we will become even better. We can thank our donors, and the Commonwealth of Virginia for this terrific expansion."

The Department of Environmental Sciences, which is celebrating its 30th year, was the first interdisciplinary environmental sciences department in the nation. It integrates several scientific disciplines, including ecology, hydrology and earth and atmospheric sciences.

The department has a fascinating collection of researchers, from a geochemist who has looked into the diets of ancient peoples for hints of migratory patterns, to people who study barrier islands, climate change, the effects of acid rain on stream ecosystems, and many other complex local, regional and global environmental problems.

In addition to training future scientists, the department teaches undergraduate students the basics of environmental awareness -- strongly based in sound scientific principles -- to create informed citizens and future leaders. The department also reaches out to the public through public service and by testifying before legislatures and various organizations.

Construction of the addition is scheduled to begin in the fall, and will be completed in the spring of 2002. Beginning in the summer of 2001, Clark Hall will undergo a renovation to create additional classroom and office space as labs are moved to the new addition.

Contact: Fariss Samarrai, (804) 924-3778

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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