Scholars Foundation unveils Fellows Center
Environmentally friendly complex on Maury Avenue allows ample academic space
The Jefferson Scholars Foundation officially unveiled the new Jefferson Fellows Center Friday morning. In addition to serving as the foundation's new headquarters, the building complex on Maury Avenue provides teaching, research and study space, all in an environment with several sustainable design features.
The complex includes a central courtyard and a set of buildings, Foundation President James Wright said. Specifically, the buildings contain the foundation's administrative offices, a reading room and rooms for conferences and seminars.
The center is aimed primarily at accommodating the work of Jefferson Fellows, the recipients of the foundation's award for graduate students, Wright said. Nevertheless, the space is multipurpose and open to the University community.
"[We expect] that a lot of the University community will want to use the building for meetings; I think we might have some professors who might want to hold class over here," Wright said.
The foundation initially decided to construct the complex when it deemed that Alumni Hall - the organization's former headquarters - lacked the space to accommodate its activities, Wright said. By contrast, the space available in the new center will be more conducive to an interdisciplinary intellectual community, he said.
The center also includes several environmentally friendly features that have made it consistent with the Gold rating, the second-highest rating given by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, according to Bob Moje, president of VMDO, the architecture firm that designed the complex.
In particular, the center includes 38 geothermal wells with ground-source heat pumps that allow for more efficient heating, as well as a cistern that will harvest rain water for irrigation purposes. Moreover, the roofs are designed to reflect heat, allowing the complex to maintain a cooler indoor temperature without expending too much energy.
"The building is on the cutting edge for environmentally sustainable design because of its low energy usage, the building materials used and the overall impact of the building on the surrounding environment," said Moje, whose firm also designed the John Paul Jones Arena.
Overall, the center should be a "tremendous asset" in the effort to recruit Jefferson Scholars and Fellows, Wright said.
"We are confident that the existence of it would be a powerful incentive for folks who are both graduate and undergraduate [students] to accept our offer," he said.