Arts Gateway, Green Design Key Topics of BOV Meeting

February 01, 2007
Feb., 1, 2007-- The Board of Visitors approved a new “Gateway to the Arts” for the University and adopted new building sustainability standards at its meetings on Jan. 22 and 23. Board members also set student housing rates and heard updates on the dean and provost searches and the $3 billion Campaign for the University.

President John T. Casteen III outlined to the Buildings and Grounds Committee plans for U.Va.’s new arts gateway, saying it would make “a significant visual statement of a vibrant community.”

The project, which will cost $118 million, would contain a performing arts space, a museum, a student residential college, studios and a dining hall. It will replace the Cavalier Inn and extend from the corner of Emmet Street and Ivy Road to the railroad tracks on Emmet Street and along Ivy Road in front of the parking garage.

The project is in the design phase now with construction to begin during 2009, with a completion date in 2011.


The Finance Committee approved using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, a sustainability standard for building design and construction. All construction projects going forward will be LEED certified. To do this will add 1.5 percent to the total construction costs, but following LEED guidelines should save the University money through more efficient energy use, reduced maintenance costs, better storm water management and increased productivity, said Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Dean & VP searches

Casteen outlined plans during the Education Policy Committee meeting to recruit replacements for College of Arts & Sciences Dean Edward L. Ayers, who will become president of the University of Richmond in July, and Vice President and Provost Gene D. Block, who has been named chancellor of UCLA, effective Aug. 1. Casteen wants a new vice president and provost by early spring and expects to have a new dean by May or June. Casteen also wants to empanel a committee to study the future of the University, with the new dean and provost reviewing the committee’s findings during the summer and fall.

$1.9 billion to go

At the External Affairs Committee meeting, Robert D. Sweeney, senior vice president for development and public affairs, reported that the University’s campaign  is on schedule, with $1.1 billion having been raised toward the $3 billion goal.

There is increased alumni participation, and Casteen said donors have a interest in a variety of areas to which they would be willing to contribute, including residential colleges, the South Lawn project and cross-disciplinary research. Casteen also said there was active faculty  participation in the campaign.

Student issues

The Finance Committee approved a 9.6 percent increase in student housing rates, bringing the double occupancy rate to $4,015 for the 2007-2008 academic year. This will cover rising operating costs, such as salaries, benefits, utilities, insurance and debt service. A portion of the
increase will go into a fund to pay for major renovation and replacement of first-year dorms.

Ayers updated the Educational Policy Committee on a spring 2006 review of student advising and the steps that were implemented in the fall, including listening to student concerns, creating more focus groups, tailoring advising assignments for more students and providing more workshops for advisers. He also noted that U.Va. is the only public school among the top 20 universities in the nation for graduation rates, black graduates and first-year student retention.

James L. Hilton, vice president and chief information officer, told the Student Affairs and Athletics Committee that the overhauled Integrated Student Information System should be adequate until a new system can be brought on line in 18 to 24 months, with complete implementation by 2010. Now 800 students can be logged on at one time, instead of the previous 120 students. He said ISIS has gone through the fall drop/add period, spring registration and spring drop/add with only two incidents of students not being able to access the system.

Diversity matters

William B. Harvey, vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, outlined to the Special Committee on Diversity his goals for minority recruitment of faculty, students and graduate students as well as more alumni engagement.

Harvey introduced Robert Bland, the first African-American to graduate from the College of Arts & Sciences nearly 50 years ago, who congratulated the board for having the highest graduation rate for African-American students for the 13th year in a row.

Harvey also cited William Cooper, director of the school’s Supplier Diversity Program, for two awards he received from the Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council’s Minority Input Committee.

The University was honored for being the most improved public-sector organization, and Cooper won the Advocate of the Year Award, for what the council called his “passion for supplier development.”

Construction updates

At the Student Affairs and Athletics Committee meeting, Craig K. Littlepage, director of intercollegiate athletics programs, outlined four projects under consideration, including additional lockers and meeting space at Klockner Stadium; enhancing seating, a computer lab and locker space in McCue Center; constructing a field house for additional outdoor practice space; and building an intramural recreation building.

The Building and Grounds Committee increased the budget for Bavaro Hall, the new Curry School of Education building to be built between Ruffner Hall and Emmet Street, from $32 million to $37.2 million and reduced the scope of the project from 80,000 square feet to 68,000 square feet.

University Architect David J. Neuman blamed the cost hike on increased international competition for building materials. Ruffner Hall will also be renovated. The committee also approved the life sciences annex for the Advanced Research and Technology building at the Fontaine Research Park and approved the concept and design of renovations to Smiddy Hall
at the U.Va. College at Wise.

In other business

• The Educational Policy Committee changed the name of the Department of Civil Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science to the Department of Civil and Environmental
Engineering; changed the name of the master’s of science in health evaluation in the School of Medicine to a master’s of science in clinical research; and approved a set of textbook policies
and procedures to bring the University in compliance with state law.

• The Committee on the University of Virginia at Wise okayed a tuition break for students from Tennessee and Kentucky, within 50 miles of the college, to make the school more competitive.