SBJ/August 6 - 12, 2001/This Weeks Issue

Ellerbe Becket gets Virginia job

The University of Virginia has contracted with nationally known Ellerbe Becket and Charlottesville, Va.-based VMDO Architects to produce preliminary design work on the school's proposed new basketball arena.

Even though the project faces some serious fund-raising hurdles and a best-case scenario might see the building finished by 2006, university administrators felt they couldn't wait to hook up with an architecture team.

"The idea was to go ahead and hire architects now, because we think that in the time frame we're looking at, their design won't be outdated when we finally get around to construction," said Terry Holland, the university's former athletic director and now assistant to the president. "With a target cost in the $120 million range, we've got substantial fund raising in front of us and it's tough to do that without renderings."

Ellerbe Becket and VMDO — along with the facility planning firm Brailsford & Dunlavey, which is doing an economic analysis for the designers — are charged with developing plans for a venue to replace 35-year-old University Hall, which has a capacity of just 8,450.

The new building, which may include a parking garage, is planned for a site directly across the street from University Hall.

"Depending on funds that are available and other things the university may want to consider along the way, we're looking at a building that will hold 12,000 to 15,000," said Bob Moje of VMDO. "There are a lot of variables involved."

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