UVA Moves Historic Building Out Of Way

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

Out with the old and in with the new is not a motto that the University of Virginia lives by.

Rouss Hall is going to be the new home for the School of Commerce and it is going to be renovated and have a big addition right where Varsity Hall is now," said Capital Project manager Dick Minturn.

Varsity Hall, built in 1858, has a rich history from being the university's first infirmary to most recently housing the Air Force ROTC program.

The university couldn't bring itself to knock it down, so instead they're just going to move it aside and make way for the new commerce building. "The process is that first they stabilize the building," explained Minturn. "Next, they cut holes through the foundation and slipped some of these steel beams through the building, put these hydraulic jacks underneath the beams and then very carefully lifted the building."

Next the Expert House Movers of Virginia Beach will build a ramp, and in mid-April, simply roll the building two hundred and fifty feet away.

Varsity Hall will then be renovated inside, but the floor plan will stay the same. The goal is to preserve the building's history, which is a new focus for the university, which previously only had an interest in preserving its Founder's structures, said Minburn.

"Traditionally we have always felt that the Jefferson buildings were very precious and perhaps we have focused too much on them," professed Minburn. "What this represents that's different is a recognition by the university that we have lots of historic buildings."

Varsity Hall is expected to be completed in two years. The Commerce building won't be finished until spring 2008. Starting March 19, patients will take University Avenue instead of Jefferson Park Avenue to get to the Medical Center until the project is completed.

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