BOV approves new arts center concept

The Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of Visitors approved the preliminary concept, sight and design guidelines for a "Gateway to the Arts," at last night's meeting.

The project is a $118.5 million complex that would include a residential college for the arts, a new home for the University of Virginia Art Museum, marching and concert bands, and concert facilities.

The complex would be located on the corner of Ivy Road and Emmet Street, west of Carr's Hill Field.

In addition to the museum and concert facilities the complex would include a 250-bed residence college, a dining hall, a 250- to 300-seat studio theater and a café and catering facility.

"We're looking at the possibility of linking to the International Residence College," University President John T. Casteen, III, said.

Beyond its practical use, the gateway would act as a grand entrance way to the University.

"For most of us, the entrance to the University was the hospital gate ... which I don't know if you noticed is a dead end road," Casteen said.

The committee voted to approve the concept, site and design guidelines, which means that the University can select a design team and spend money to create the design. Since last night's vote was merely the first step in the process, this design will require additional BOV approval, University Architect David J. Neuman said.

"This is a very exciting project and one this committee will look forward to working with," Committee Chairman Lewis F. Payne said.

The committee also approved the schematic design for Bavaro Hall, a building for the Curry School which will be located adjacent to Ruffner Hall.

The building is a $37.2 million facility that will include classrooms, clinics and offices for faculty and administration.

According to Neuman the building will also serve to shield Ruffner Hall, considered by many to be an eyesore.

"The new building had to look better than the old building and provide cover," Neuman said.

The Bavaro Hall project is at a later stage in the design project as the schematic design for the building has now been approved.

According to Neuman, this means that the building is much closer to fruition.

"Assuming we're on budget for the approved funds, we can soon begin construction," Neuman says.

Construction is projected to begin in 2008 and to be completed in 2010, while the Gateway to the Arts is projected to begin construction in 2009 and be completed in 2011.

related stories