Rotunda Renovations to Affect UVA Ceremonies in Coming Year - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Rotunda Renovations to Affect UVA Ceremonies in Coming Year

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More renovations to the University of Virginia's Rotunda are expected to get underway in May.

The second phase of construction on the Rotunda is expected to span two years and cost around $43 million. That means the building will be closed for traditions like the lighting of the lawn and final exercises - starting after final exercises of 2014.

Phase one of the renovation is complete - now head architect David Newman says the building has several outdated systems that need to be brought up to date. 

"The heating, ventilating, air conditioning system, humidity control, fire protection, and the like all need to be accomplished in order to put this building up to a contemporary standard for use and for preservation purposes," said Newman.

Work is slated to last two years and while work is being completed, UVA traditions that involve students walking through the building will have to change.

"Because they won't be able to get inside the building at least in 2015, there will have to be sort of an alternate plan developed, and those conversations are ongoing now," said Eric McDaniel, UVA Student Council president.

But architects and students agree - the result will be worth the wait.

"The concept of students and faculty co-mingling in the library and being the central commons if you will, and our idea is to bring that back again to be much more a part of the day-to-day experience of our faculty and particularly students," said Newman.

"To be allowed to learn inside the Rotunda is a singular experience at the University of Virginia so I think it'll be a big draw, not just for students looking for classes but also for high school seniors and juniors trying to find a university to come to," said McDaniel.

Those renovations include the addition of more classroom space, a new elevator, expanded restrooms, and a new dome room ceiling.

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