Nov. 28, 2007 – The board of directors of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation announced that it will begin construction on a new Center for Jefferson Fellows. The center — to be located at 124 Maury Avenue — is designed to meet the growing demand for study, teaching and office space, serving graduate scholars and leading thinkers from around the world.
James Wright, executive director of the foundation, said, "We are pleased to launch this important initiative. Our purpose is to stimulate and support an unusual depth of interdisciplinary academic activity that will spark innovative thinking about issues of importance to our world today."
The construction project — estimated to garner the community more than $2.7 million in revenues, apart from associated taxes, fees and licenses — is scheduled for completion by fall 2009. It will require the demolition of the existing structure on the property, which dates back to 1913 and for the past 50 years has served as a fraternity house. The foundation board considered restoring or moving the house before concluding that demolition was "the wisest course of action."
The new Center for Jefferson Fellows will be "a high-performance structure that is durable, resource-efficient and LEED-certified," according to VMDO principal Bob Moje, whose architectural firm has been retained for design services. "This project also holds promise as an exemplary low-impact development where innovative methods will recreate the way stormwater is retained and absorbed."
The mission of the 25-year-old, not-for-profit Jefferson Scholars Foundation is to serve the University of Virginia by identifying, attracting and nurturing individuals of extraordinary intellectual range and depth who possess the highest concomitant qualities of leadership, scholarship and citizenship. The Center for Jefferson Fellows will materially advance the foundation’s role in graduate-level studies.