Building program undertaken by the University

As a part of The Cavalier Daily’s 130 year anniversary, we are republishing articles from our archives. This article originally ran in The Cavalier Daily September 2, 1963.

It is expected that by 1975 as many as 10,000 students may be attending the University, an increase of approximately fifty percent over today’s enrollment. To meet this influx, University officials are undertaking an ambitious building program.

A few of the more important projects are Gilmer Hall, the Life Sciences building; new married student quarters; expansion of Newcomb Hall, the University Union building; expansion of the School of Medicine; construction of branch colleges; construction of University Hall, the new gymnasium-auditorium-field house; a $5,000,000 Chemistry Building; and seven new dormitories.

Gilmer Hall Completed

Construction is now completed on Gilmer Hall, which will house classrooms and laboratories for biology and psychology.

This structure, costing over three million dollars, is located at the west end of the present University Grounds at the intersection of Alderman and McCormick roads. It is one of four buildings in a projected science and technology center.

The new dormitories are located between Alderman Road and the city filtration plant. Plans call for seven buildings housing a total of 840 upper-class students. Four of the dormitories are now completed with three remaining to be finished in January of next year.

$3,000,000 Dorms

Construction of the dormitories, at an estimated cost of three million dollars, started last summer.

The dormitories are designed in suites of ten students. Each suite will have five bedrooms around a living room and bath, and each bedroom will have its entrance on an exterior balcony. The balconies will eliminate the long corridors that are in the present buildings.

The University officials have described the architecture that we be used as a blend of the modern and the traditional. The buildings are being constructed with the University’s famous red brick, but the windows will be of the large modern style, somewhat akin to picture windows.

The married students housing quarters were bid upon last summer. The estimated cost for this project is one and a half million dollars.

The project is to consist of 14 buildings with 120 one and two bedroom apartments. The buildings are to be located in the northwest corner of Copeley Hill. The completion date is set for the fall of 1964.

The married student housing project is the first phase of the two-part program. The second phase will be just like the first.

Newcomb Expansion

Newcomb Hall, the University Union building, will be expanded to meet the influx of students that is expected when the new dormitories are completed. Additional space will be added to the north and south ends of the present building and to the west side, facing Emmet street.

The addition will be used primarily as a dining area. However, there will also be lounges and reading rooms. The cost for this project will be approximately a half a million dollars.

Medical Center

Work began in the spring of last year on a four story building for the University Medical Center, to link the building properly with other parts of the Center. A portion of the building will remain incomplete and unusable until further funds are granted by the General Assembly in January of the coming year.

The four-story construction will be used to house clinical department offices and consultation and treatment facilities at the Medical Center. Demolition of portions of the original hospital was necessary before construction could begin.

In conjunction with this construction, the old main entrance of the hospital was renovated. Work on this addition consisted of fire-proofing and remodeling.

A $2,000,000 construction project planned for this spring, for the first five buildings of the Universities community college on the outskirts of Fairfax, Virginia, was not carried out because of unexpectedly high costs. George Mason College occupies a 150 acre site.

College Enlarges

George Mason — which actually began six years ago on the temporary headquarters of an elementary school — now plans to be prepared for 500 to 700 students in the 1963-63 academic year, through a recent decision by the Governor regarding reactivation of the building plans. The college will be built in several stages during the next ten years, by which time there will probably be an enrollment of 2,500 students.

The University is moving ahead in its program of providing more students with a college education by establishing branch colleges and community colleges which will give the first two years of college education in non-dormitory institutions. Qualified students will then be able to transfer to the University. At present the University has two community colleges, two branch colleges and seven extension centers.

Concerning other construction around the Grounds, the Alderman Library has top priority on the University’s list of new projects for the 1964 General Assembly. Plans for the construction of much-needed additional space are now being drawn. The General Assembly turned down the University’s request for more library construction funds in 1962.

The East Gardens, between the East Range and the Lawn, were recently restored to their original condition under the sponsorship of the Garden Club of Virginia. This restoration is part of a long term project to restore the Lawn, the Ranges and the Rotunda.

Field House Planned

Site-clearing began this spring for University Hall, the gymnasium-auditorium-field house. The hall’s auditorium-gymnasium area would seat more than 9,400 persons at meetings, 7,600 for basketball games and 3,400 for concerts. Capacity could be increased for basketball games by adding temporary stands on the floor.

The cost of University Hall will be approximately three million dollars, wth the General Assembly having appropriate $2 million, alumni raising $500,000 and the remainder to come from a bond issue.

University Hall will serve several long-sought needs at the University for more space for meetings, concerts, plays, showings and indoor athletic events.

Convention Site

The University is one of the major centers in Virginia for conventions and meetings of state and regional organizations. University Hall will permit the largest groups to gather and thus use most fruitfully the many facilities and speakers available at the University. Portable stages and special acoustical arrangements would close off large areas of the area for plays, exhibitions and concerts.

University Hall will consist of a circular auditorium around a basketball court area; a link building for offices and service facilities, and a rectangular dirt-floored “cage” for indoor athletics.

The circular portion of University Hall will be 280 feet across, with a clear height at the center of 86 feet. A lightening ring will be suspended 72 feet above the floor, and the basketball court will be 135 feet across. The cage will measure 140 by 160 feet.

A proposed new swimming pool, designed to attach to the link building near the cage, will be added later.

Transcribed by Emma Klein 

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