Demolition of University Hall and associated athletic buildings approaches

Buildings will be cleared in pursuit of turf fields for athletes

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U-Hall will be demolished by the end of 2019. Courtesy University of Virginia

Virginia Athletics has begun the initial steps in its Athletics Master Plan, an undertaking that will involve the complete demolition of University Hall and several other adjacent structures.

Don Sundgren, associate vice president and chief facilities officer of the University’s Office of Facilities Management, told The Cavalier Daily that University Hall will be demolished by the end of 2019, in addition to some parts of the sports medicine building, “the Cage,” the Link and Onesty Hall — other nearby structures hosting office space.

McCue Hall and the Welsh Indoor Practice Facility, more recent additions to the athletic complex and very close to U-Hall, will stay put.

Nicknamed “U-Hall,” the building was built in 1965 as the home of the men’s basketball team. With the opening of John Paul Jones Arena in 2006, it was converted into a practice facility and athletic administration office space. 

Part one of the Master Plan, which has already been started, involves moving out the offices currently located inside U-Hall. Temporary spaces — including double-wide trailers — have been erected nearby, Sundgren said, and occupants will be totally evacuated by the middle of November.

“That will enable us to begin the work on U-Hall,” Sundgren said. “We have selected a contractor, and that contractor will be responsible for the asbestos abatement of U-Hall and the associated buildings and the demolition.”

The abatement is expected to be started by December or January, and be completed by the end of 2019. 

Sundgren emphasized that for the first few months of changes, signs of redevelopment may not be evident since the abatement will be taking place inside the structure. Once the actual demolition begins, Sundgren says it will be “quite obvious.” The building will be demolished traditionally, with wrecking balls, though Sundgren noted U-Hall’s emblematic dome will be destroyed in a different way.

“Most of the demolition will take place through traditional methods like we saw the Cavalier Inn come down, but the dome — right now, the intent for the demolition of the dome of U-Hall is implosion with planned charges. I am not sure when that would occur, but likely in late spring or early summer,” he said. 

Sundgren does not anticipate that the construction would have any bearing on student or University activities and programming. 

“I don’t foresee any hindrances to student activities,” Sundgren said. “We are always very, very sensitive to the fact that this university is for in teaching, research and patient care, not for what we do.”

“There will be, of course, large equipment and vehicles on the site, but it will be well maintained with traffic advising if we even need that. I don’t expect any lane closures to be necessary, but if that were to happen we’d get notice out way in advance,” he said. 

After the demolition, the Athletics Master Plan calls for the space to be converted into natural turf fields for the football team and other athletics groups, as well as locker rooms for more than 400 student athletes, a sports medicine facility and a strength-training facility.

The project in its entirety will cost the University Athletics $180 million. 

For more details about the Master Plan and construction in the University Hall area, James B. Daves, Assistant Director of Athletics for Media Relations, referred The Cavalier Daily to the Virginia Athletics webpage

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