University Hall demolished to continue athletics renovation plan

The former home of U.Va. basketball programs will be repurposed into grass practice fields


U-Hall, the former home to Virginia's basketball programs, had been closed to the public since 2015 before its demolition Saturday. 

Courtesy University of Virginia Athletics

University Hall, home of the University’s basketball programs from 1965-2006, was demolished Saturday morning as part of the ongoing athletics renovation project. Former Virginia All-American basketball player Ralph Sampson returned to Grounds to push the button for imploding the building known commonly as “Ralph’s House.”

Many Virginia fans witnessed 5,000 pounds of concrete from the building’s signature white scalloped roof hit the ground, while others watched via a livestream online. The implosion was accompanied by a loud sound that lasted for several seconds followed by a cloud of smoke.

The demolition of the site, along with the already completed demolition of adjacent buildings Onesty Hall and the Cage, are part of phase one of the Athletics Master Plan. Onesty Hall was home to the wrestling program, and the Cage hosted multiple teams including track and field and softball. The plan will transform the athletics department with new and renovated buildings and practice fields at an estimated cost between $12 million to $14 million. 

The University Hall site will be repurposed into two new grass practice fields for the football team and other athletics groups, which are set to be completed by August 2020. Several months will be spent clearing the site of debris from the demolition. The proposed project is part of the University’s larger strategy to make the area of North Grounds and athletics facilities more accessible to the University community.

University Hall hosted men’s and women’s basketball games, concerts and other special events. Before the building closed in 2015, students, faculty and staff configured a virtual reality documentation of University Hall using scans and photographs.

The Virginia athletics department also gave fans a chance to take home one of the thousands of bricks from University Hall last Thursday before its demolition.

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