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Summer construction season begins on UVa Grounds

With fewer students, faculty and staff on Grounds, summer is the perfect season for construction at the University of Virginia.

Several of those projects are already underway, and those projects range in size from ceiling and concrete repairs to the construction of a roughly 200,000-square-foot hotel.

Especially the larger projects are likely to affect pedestrian paths and traffic patterns in and around the school in Charlottesville.

But projects large and small will all contribute to greater accessibility and functionality for the university community, according to UVa spokeswoman Bethanie Glover.

“The goal at UVa is always to provide a safe, accessible, functional and beautiful environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors, that also aligns with the priorities and mission of the University,” Glover told The Daily Progress in an email. “The projects underway this summer will enhance accessibility, capacity and safety for those who live, work and study on and around Grounds.”

Here are some of the upcoming projects and what they entail:

UVa Guesthouse Hotel and Conference Center

A hotel and conference center totaling roughly 220,000 square feet is slated for the Emmet-Ivy entrance corridor, according to UVa. The center will include about 217 guest rooms, a conference center that measures about 25,000 square feet, a restaurant, a cafe, outside terraces and a rooftop bar.

The project budget is about $168 million, according to UVa’s major capital plan.

UVa has said it hopes to utilize this space, expected to open in the summer of 2025, as a “hospitality anchor” to a new “Arts and Academic precinct.”

Cobb and Shumway halls

A new building, Shumway Hall, is to be attached to the existing Cobb Hall to expand the McIntire School of Commerce at the school. A tunnel linking Shumway to Rouss and Robertson halls is also in the works.

School of Data Science

Expected to be completed in early 2024 is a 60,000-square-foot, four-story building for UVa’s School of Data Science. The building is to house two 75-person classrooms, two 45-person classrooms, study areas, faculty offices, research and interactive spaces, and a terrace on the fourth floor with a green roof. The new school will be located at the Emmet-Ivy entrance corridor.

Alderman Library

Additions to the school’s existing Alderman Library will total 130,000 square feet of space, according to UVa. Renovations of about 100,000 square feet are also in the works, including shelving, study areas, reading rooms, staff work areas and spaces for research and preservation of books.

The library renewal’s budget is set to total about $164 million, according to the school’s capital plan.

The project is aimed at increasing flow to Central Grounds by creating a new entrance facing University Avenue as well as increasing safety and accessibility within the library, according to the school.

Contemplative Sciences Center

The new center will host spaces for research and academia activities, consuming about 57,000 square feet of Grounds, according to UVa. The project will also include a rooftop bridge to link pedestrian bridges from Emmet Street and west to the McCormick Road residence halls.

Operations are expected to be completed in spring 2024.

UVa said it hopes to bring students and faculty together from other schools to cultivate collaboration and experiment with new ways of teaching and learning.

Football Operations Center

Construction on the center began in June 2022 and will cause closures to Massie Road until July 7. New additions will include team locker rooms, meeting rooms, coaches’ offices, a weight room, a players lounge and more.

The budget for the center is about $80 million, according to the UVa capital plan.

Other construction happening on Grounds will include repairs and utility work such as plastering ceilings, rebuilding and repairing concrete and new roofing.

There are three stages to the UVa “Major Capital Project Process.” The first step is the predesign and project developmental phase. Next is planning and design. Lastly: actual construction.

Various contractors were hired for each project, according to Glover.

“Projects are advertised and awarded on a competitive basis, so there are numerous contractors currently active on Grounds as well as UVa’s internal design and construction team for a number of the smaller projects,” Glover said.

Construction and renovations on Grounds are hoped to be completed within the next few years, according to UVa.


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