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Building and Grounds Committee anticipates reopening of Alderman Library, approves plan for new institute of biotechnology

The Committee also voted to demolish townhomes at U.Va. College at Wise


This goal of carbon neutrality falls within the University’s 2030 Strategic Plan, which encompasses initiatives from strengthening community to expanding research.
This goal of carbon neutrality falls within the University’s 2030 Strategic Plan, which encompasses initiatives from strengthening community to expanding research.

The Board of Visitors' Building and Grounds Committee heard updates on the Major Capital Plan and approved the plans for the Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology, which was announced Jan. 20. The Board also voted to demolish the townhomes at the College at Wise.

The Committee, which met Thursday from 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., began by discussing changes and progression made to the Major Capital Plan, which addresses construction and infrastructure projects with budgets of $5 million or more. Included in the plan is the near conclusion of construction of Alderman Library.

Colette Sheehy, senior vice president for operations and state government relations, was hopeful that students would be able to utilize the space as early as fall of 2023, with the library being fully operational in spring 2024. The library has been closed for renovations since March 2020.

Alderman Library is one of 13 projects in progress at this time including renovations to the physics building and upperclassman housing on Brandon Avenue. Sheehy said she eagerly anticipates many of the projects that will be completed in the upcoming year under the plan, including the Contemplative Commons.

“I hope all of you are ready to come to a lot of ribbon cuttings in the next 18 to 24 months because we are going to finish a lot of projects,” Sheehy said.

The Major Capital Plan was originally a $2.9 billion plan, but with proposed revisions — which include the addition of several plans and the omission of four projects — the budget will be reduced to $2.5 billion. With the completion of renovation on the Chemistry Building and Gilmer Hall, $380 million of the plan has currently been utilized.

Additionally, the Committee approved the construction plan for the Institute of Biotechnology at Fontaine Park, an off-Grounds center with various different research units. The $300 million new facility — funded in large part by a $100 million gift from Charlottesville investors Paul and Diane Manning — will include a research laboratory and a viral vector unit that will have the capacity to manufacture both cell and protein-based investigational therapies. 

Other plans include expanding imaging and animal research facilities already at Fontaine Park as well as adding a parking garage and energy plant. 

University Architect Alice Raucher said that the research parking garage will alleviate a lack of parking around Grounds, partially serving visitors to the Medical Center. Additionally, she said the energy plant will contribute to the University’s sustainability plan, which was first established in 2016 and outlines goals for the University to be carbon neutral by 2030 and emissions free by 2050.

This goal of carbon neutrality falls within the University’s 2030 Strategic Plan, which encompasses initiatives from strengthening community to expanding research.

“The energy plant will be served by geothermal wells which will be drilled underneath the surface parking areas and roadways,” Raucher said. “This method of geo-exchange, which is explained in more detail in the Board book, will contribute to the University's sustainability goals of being carbon neutral by 2030.”

The Committee also unanimously approved demolition of the townhomes across from U.Va. College at Wise. The structures have not been in use since 2013 due to structural concerns, electrical issues and moisture infiltration. 

The Building and Grounds Committee will meet again during the June meeting of the Board.

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