UVa's Rotunda is getting quite the makeover. When you're almost 200 years old, you could probably use a face lift, too. Three years after the University of Virginia was established in 1819, construction of the Rotunda began and was completed in 1826. Jefferson's original plans for the Rotunda included exercise yards, classrooms, and a library. Once Alderman Library was created in the 1930s, the Rotunda was no longer central to academics. The Rotunda renovation is meant to restore Jefferson's building back to its original purpose. In 2016, it will resume its former role as a library and classroom building that unites students and faculty in an academic setting.Today, the Rotunda is a World Heritage Site and the core of UVa's grounds. The second phase of this renovation costs around $42.5 million. Don't worry, tuition money is not paying for it. Actually, the majority of funds are from private philanthropy. How thoughtful!
So what exactly is happening to the Rotunda? Here is a brief list of construction plans:
- classroom space expansion
- portico roof replacement
- updating utility systems
- new marble capitals
- Dome Room ceiling replacement
- underground room to house mechanical systems
Pros and Cons: Since the Rotunda is the centerpiece of UVa, its construction has undoubtedly altered events and traditions. For example, 2015 Final Exercises will occur during two days in May instead of one. As a result, the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will have their Final Exercises on May 16 and all of UVa's other schools will have theirs on May 17. This limits students to allowing 4 guests and prevents some friends and family members from graduating together. On the other hand, the renovation will give students the chance to attend classes in Jefferson's self-designed building. It'll allow the UVa community to connect and embrace the history around them. The Rotunda isn't just a historical landmark, it's a symbol of neoclassicism, education, community, history, and dear old UVa.