New Arena Schematic Plans Approved By The Buildings And Grounds Committee Of The U.Va. Board of Visitors
May 14, 2002
RICHMOND, Va. – Planning for the University of Virginia’s new $128 million multipurpose arena project took an important step forward today when the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the U.Va. Board of Visitors approved schematic plans.
The design includes a horseshoe-shaped, 15,000-seat arena with contiguous basketball practice courts, basketball coaches’ offices, a weight training room, a club lounge and 20 luxury suites. The arena and adjacent parking, including a new garage, will be built across Massie Road from University Hall on what is now a parking lot.
The Board of Visitors will have one more chance to review the plans before work begins early next year. Completion is scheduled for May 2006.
“With the Building and Grounds Committee’s approval of the schematic design, we have passed a major milestone,” said University Architect Samuel “Pete” Anderson. “From here on out, we do not expect the plans to change much from what was presented.
“This will be a handsome building, with strong echoes of Scott Stadium. It will look very much in keeping with the character of the University. We asked the architects to give us an intimate-but-raucous environment for basketball, while concurrently providing a great venue for other major events. This design delivers on both counts.”
In addition to the arena, project plans include parking for 1,500 vehicles on the west side of the site, including 600 surface spaces and a 900-space, multi-level parking facility. Fans will have easy access to the arena via a new connector road to the U.S. 29/250 bypass, as well as from Emmet Street and Ivy Road. The approximately $5 million connector road, also scheduled for completion in May 2006, is incorporated in the project’s total cost. A traffic study of the area now being conducted takes the road’s daily and event traffic into account.
U.Va. has received two $20 million gifts in support of the project, one from an anonymous donor and another from alumnus Paul Tudor Jones II, chair of the Greenwich, Conn.-based Tudor Group, a financial management firm. In all, approximately $45 million has been raised for the project, said Barry Parkhill, director of athletic development.
In August 2001, the University selected VMDO Architects of Charlottesville as the lead architect firm, with Ellerbe Becket of Kansas City, Mo. as a partner, combining a local sense of U.Va.’s Jeffersonian style with national arena-design and construction expertise.
For basketball games, students will be seated courtside in two separate sections, with premium donor seating filling the remainder of the lower bowl, as well as an upper-level loge area. The arena’s shape gives it not only a fan-friendly, “close to the court” seating arrangement for basketball games, but also makes it easily adaptable for other uses. The open end of the arena will be ideal for stages; the lower level will include retractable seats to maximize event flexibility.
“My vision is that U.Va. athletics will become the place to be,” said U.Va. director of athletics Craig Littlepage. “The new basketball arena is a critical part of that vision, in that it will be a welcoming place for all who enjoy basketball, cultural and other leisure events. We want the facility to be one in which aspiring student-athletes will want to play. We want our students and fans of college basketball to be drawn to our facility because of its design, its comfort and other amenities. I would anticipate friends of the University in the region to attend other events once they have initially experienced an event in our arena.
“Finally, this facility demonstrates the University’s commitment to excellence. As such, it would affirm the University is the place to work, to enjoy great quality of life, and to pursue activities that add value to the mission of the University.”
The management firm of Barton Malow Inc, headquartered in Southfield, Mich. with a regional office in Charlottesville, will oversee construction. The firm also managed the recent expansion of the Carl Smith Center, home of David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium, and plans to pattern many of the construction processes after those used for the stadium project.
Project director Dick Laurance of U.Va. Facilities Management and a steering committee are overseeing the project from the University’s end.
“We are taking the many design and procurement processes as well as lessons learned from the stadium expansion project and creating an owner-architect-construction management team that will be the key management element for the project success over the next four years,” Laurance said. “It will be a great challenge for all of us to meet the financial, schedule and quality goals that are laid out, but the pace of the project and enthusiasm are building rapidly in the right direction.”