The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Gaston and Ramazani Houses — the University’s newest upperclassmen residences

New housing units to open on Brandon Avenue in the fall, with a new food court and other coveted amenities

<p>All residents will have their own bedroom, and the apartments will come furnished, with the complex also containing a new food court.</p>

All residents will have their own bedroom, and the apartments will come furnished, with the complex also containing a new food court.

Starting in the Fall 2024 semester, the University's new Gaston and Ramazani houses on Brandon Avenue — two buildings comprising one residential complex — will house 338 upperclassmen. While currently under construction, residents can anticipate 37 furnished eight-bedroom apartments and six seven-bedroom apartments. All residents will have their own bedroom, and the apartments will come furnished, with the complex also containing a new food court.

The new housing project is part of the University’s 2030 Plan, an initiative approved by the Board of Visitors in August 2019. One of the ten goals outlined in the plan is to foster and expand its community of living and learning at the University, in part by aiming to house all first- and second-year students on Grounds by 2030. 

According to University Spokesperson Bethanie Glover, by housing all first- and second-years on Grounds and finding ways for third and fourth-years to stay connected to their residential groups, the University hopes to nurture a more inclusive community that might help prepare students for an increasingly diverse world. 

The residences take their names from two former University professors — History Prof. Paul M. Gaston and Politics Prof. Rouhoullah “Ruhi” Ramazani. Gaston was a renowned Southern historian and civil rights activist who taught at the University for 40 years, while Ramazani was an Edward R. Stettinius Professor Emeritus of Government and Foreign Affairs known for his contributions to the study of Iranian foreign policy and Middle Eastern affairs. 

The Building and Grounds Committee of the Board of Visitors decided in its September 2023 meeting to name the halls after Gaston and Ramazani, reflecting University naming policies where residence halls have typically been named after longtime faculty members deemed to have been effective teachers. 

According to the Housing and Residence Life website, all units will feature two full kitchens and a communal living space with a sofa — or sometimes two — and a TV stand. In addition, according to the Housing and Residence Life website, some apartments will include two lounge chairs and a coffee table as well. All units’ dining spaces will have a table that can accommodate up to eight people. Every apartment will have built-in closets, dressers and other amenities common in University housing, including desks and chairs. 

Hovsep Seferian, first-year College student and future resident of Gaston and Ramazani, said he is excited to live in the new space and that it was the best option available for him, as it provides unique and beneficial amenities not found in other buildings. Housing selection times for on-Grounds upperclassmen are assigned on a random basis — and popular locations, including Bond and Bice, often fill up very quickly. Seferian said that he and his roommates saw the odds of living in Gaston and Ramazani as low. 

“It seemed like a no-brainer,” Seferian said. “When you look at what's there [on the Housing and Residence Life website], it did initially feel like a hail mary given that so few people would actually end up winning the lottery and getting to live there. But I figured that it was worth it, because in comparison to the rest of the on-Grounds housing options, it really just does seem miles better than what is available.”

Glover also said that along with the traditional amenities offered in residential areas, the new buildings are slated to house a brand-new food court, with a variety of dining options open to all members of the University community and the public. The space will host an Amazon Just Walk Out store — a contactless store that allows customers to take what they choose and leave without checking out — where patrons will be billed automatically for the items they obtain. Dining options will include a Peet's Coffee, The Den by Denny's, a Bodega deli and space for an additional restaurant that will change on a rotating basis. 

Jolina Dong, first-year College student and future resident in Gaston and Ramazani, says she looks forward to the expanded food options provided at the residences. 

“Personally, my parents are chefs, and I don’t want to seem conceited, but the U.Va. Dining food never really satisfies me,” Dong said. “[In the food court], I’m definitely looking for a variety of foods … I hope there's a lot of seating so that we can … study and find a place to focus.”

Another perk of the new residences are their location and access to transportation options. According to the University's Housing and Residence Life website, Gaston and Ramazini will feature an 82-spot underground parking garage and, for students without cars, the University Transit Service Orange Loop will allow for a convenient commute from the apartments to places like the Corner and Jefferson Park Avenue. The buildings are also located in close proximity to both Student Health and Wellness and the University Medical Center, as well as within an 11-minute walk of Central Grounds.

​​Seferian said that while he had some reservations about living in Gaston and Ramazani because he would not be able to see the space until after he committed to the lease, he was still motivated to apply due to the dorm's location.

“I can't [overstate] how great I find the location,” Seferian said. “Right now, I live in Courtenay and … that is as awful as a location you can get. I think [living at Gaston and Ramazani] will really change the way that I build my schedule. I'm so close to the Corner, that is definitely something I'm looking forward to.”

While Gaston and Ramazani will only house 338 students, Glover said the University is currently working with an external consultant to achieve its goal to house all second-year students on Grounds in accordance with The 2030 Plan. Glover said the second-year housing requirement is still several years out, and will be clearly communicated to prospective students well ahead of implementation.

More information on the new buildings can be found on Housing and Residence Life’s official website.


Latest Podcast

Today, we sit down with both the president and treasurer of the Virginia women's club basketball team to discuss everything from making free throws to recent increased viewership in women's basketball.