The Board of Visitors’ Buildings and Grounds Committee met last Thursday to discuss a series of important issues, including selecting an architect to work on the second set of residence halls on Brandon Avenue as well as the architect for the remodeling of the North Grounds Mechanical Plant. The committee also met to discuss ongoing sustainability work at the University.
The Board approved all of the proposals put forth.
Colette Sheehy, the University’s senior vice president for operations, introduced the first three topics — the selection of the architect and engineer for Brandon Avenue Upper-Class Residence Hall Phase II, the North Grounds Mechanical Plant and Infrastructure and the West Grounds Chilled Water Capacity.
The Brandon Avenue Upper-Class Residence Halls were the first item on the agenda of the Committee. Specifically, the Board was voting on the decision to make Elkus Manfredi Architects, a Boston-based firm, the architects of a second residence building on the Brandon Avenue site.
“They are not the same architects that are doing the one at the end of the street,” Sheehy noted.
After a question by Rector Frank “Rusty” Conner, Sheehy explained the need for the apartments.
“We're down about 900 beds for upper-class students,” Sheehy said, citing that the growth in the number of first-year students led to the need to convert upper-class housing to temporarily accommodate first-years.
“Between the one under construction and the one proposed here and even a third one, we would be able to replace those 900 beds,” Sheehy added.
The residence halls are projected to cost $66 million and are slated to be ready for occupancy in 2019.
The board also selected an architect to build the expansion of the North Grounds Mechanical Plant. The facilities are intended to replace the Darden School’s existing utilities plant with “innovative and highly-efficient central plant equipment,” according to the Board’s agenda materials.
The suggested architect for this project — Hammel, Green and Abrahamson — was also approved unanimously.
The committee discussed the schematic design for the Ivy Mountain Central Utility Plant. The plan — the construction of an approximately 7,500 square foot central heating and cooling facility — was approved.
In tandem with the University’s sustainability goals, the Ivy Mountain development, according to the plans, creates an opportunity to implement highly-efficient and innovative district
energy generation and distribution systems. Significant water savings would also be expected, according to the agenda.
On a different note, Tim Rose, the chief executive officer of the University of Virginia Foundation — an entity which manages real estate and finances for the University — spoke about what the foundation does in relation to the Buildings and Grounds Committee.
“We only have one customer — the University of Virginia — and we're here to serve your purposes and your vision and we are one of many vehicles to help get you to your goals,” Rose stated to the gathered Committee.
The University of Virginia Foundation purchases property that it holds and then sells to the University, including the recent Brandon Avenue development.
“Over the course of about eight years we bought 16 properties and then transferred them to U.Va.,” Rose said.
During Rose’s presentation, James Reyes, a member of the Board of Visitors, interjected to make an important point about the ownership of the University of Virginia Foundation.
“[The University of Virginia Foundation] is legally separate, what you own is legally separated, [the Board] can't force you to do anything with that property. Thankfully you only have one customer, and you've treated it very well over the years, but legally speaking you are totally independent,” Reyes said.
The Committee lastly discussed ongoing sustainability efforts at the University, specifically the partnership with Dominion Energy where the University has committed to purchasing the full output of electricity produced by two solar fields. One field is a 160-acre solar facility located in King William County and the other is 120-acres in Middlesex County.
“Both of the solar fields that we’re involved with with Dominion [Energy] are now operational — and in terms of the Boards' goal around reduction of greenhouse gases we are at 19 percent compared to the 25 percent goal which is by 2025,” Sheehy said.