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University of Virginia UVA Arts & Sciences Default

A&S Improvement Projects Ongoing

Sep 18, 2017 |

As construction and renovation projects continue across Grounds, some Arts & Sciences facilities were preparing to unveil new features and additions for the new academic year.

Work is well underway on the renovations to the Chemistry Building and Gilmer Hall. Restoration work on the plaza is mostly complete, and crews are finishing renovation work to the spaces underneath the terrace. Renovation work is ongoing on the top floor of Gilmer, which will house, among other labs, the neuroscience research labs of two of the College’s new appointments, JC Cang, the Paul T. Jones Jefferson Scholars Foundation Professor, and Assistant Professor Xiaorong Liu.

A prototype teaching lab, representative of the new teaching spaces planned for the Chemistry Building, is available to visit now on the fourth floor near the building’s northwest corner.

The first couple of weeks of the fall semester behind the Dawson’s Row cottages featured a fair amount of traffic from large earthmoving equipment as work continued on the University-wide 35kV electrical duct bank project. The multi-year project involves the installation of 2.75 miles of electrical duct bank to provide a dedicated underground power feed to the University of Virginia. The new duct bank will connect the existing Sherwood, Alderman and Cavalier substations through a combination of two, four and six-way underground duct banks consisting of 8-inch PVC conduits encased in concrete. 

Once complete, the duct bank project should provide much "cleaner" and more reliable power to the University, said Anna Towns, the Arts & Sciences director of space planning and management.

“Any time a branch falls on a power line or a power line goes out, you get blips in power that can really damage research equipment. This is a major investment by the BOV in support of our scientists and our research infrastructure.”

In front of Wilson Hall, landscaping work on the plaza space south of the building continues. When complete, the plaza will feature a round seating area, reduced pavement and new trees and plantings at the south entrance to Wilson.

The Language Commons, a new collaborative study space on the second floor of New Cabell Hall with computer work stations, white boards, flat screen monitors and lounge areas for language students and their instructors, is scheduled to celebrate its grand opening on Oct. 24. Standing height tables and other furniture were delivered and installed in recent weeks as final preparations continue.

Other improvements have been made to a number of classrooms, offering new features geared toward creating an environment for more active learning. In Clark Hall’s tiered classroom (Room 108), for example, chairs with hydraulic lifts were added to allow students to navigate more easily to work in groups with classmates seated at the elevated table behind them. The bolted-down seats in Maury Hall 115 have been replaced with moveable tablet arm chairs, and another exit and ADA ramp were added.

In Old Cabell Hall, a new LED lighting system for the auditorium will provide for improved effects and will be much more energy efficient, Towns said. A new projector and massive screen also have been installed in Old Cabell’s auditorium for public events and musical productions.

“We run 220-plus events in Old Cabell every year, not to mention all the rehearsals held there, and we had these huge lights that were far from ‘state of the art’ producing a tremendous amount of heat and using a tremendous amount of electricity. So, we anticipated a really big energy savings with the new lighting system. All of this work will help one of UVA’s most iconic buildings function much more efficiently and effectively.”