CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - University of Virginia alumni got a sneak peek on Saturday at what new projects are coming to the university. The architect for the university, Alice Raucher, was the featured speaker at UVA Alumni Association's monthly 'More than the Score' event.

Raucher updated the audience on several projects in development around grounds but focused primarily on three locations: the Brandon Avenue development, the former Cavalier Inn site, and the location of the recently demolished University Hall.

"We have to make the grounds more walkable, more bikeable," Raucher said. "Allow students to not rely on cars to get from one part to the other. That we reinforce our public transportation and our university transit. We make dedicated and safe bike lanes. We make beautiful and safe crosswalks, intersections and sidewalks." 

At the Brandon Avenue location, UVA has built a new residence hall named Bond Hall to complement the existing Bice Hall. They plan to have new student apartments join a new student health and wellness center around a green space. The goal of that development is to connect the new hospital and medical center to central grounds.

At the site of the old Cavalier Inn, which was torn down the previous year, the university is developing the landscape to allow for the construction of several new academic buildings as well as a new university hotel and conference center to replace the old Inn. The development will also include an open corner facing the rotunda, and a green space meant to link north grounds and central grounds through the new athletic facility and practice fields outside John Paul Jones Arena.

"In that way, we start knitting together the often disparate parts of grounds like north grounds and west grounds to central grounds," Raucher explained.

One of the major goals in the re-development of these areas is to increase pedestrian friendliness. Raucher said a benchmark for the university is that a student would be able to walk from north grounds to central grounds in 20 minutes. That would be possible with the new improvements to the Cavalier Inn site and the athletic practice fields.

"When you look at the Emmett/Ivy corridor, geographically that and the athletics area, that has been standing in the way of pedestrian connectivity," Raucher said. "The ability to develop the quality of the walk to have a rational network of pathways and sideways and be able to knit those parcels together, allows that parcel to be much more of an open grounds, something that the broader community and the University community will feel welcome at."

During the Q&A session that followed some alumni raised concerns about parking. Many of the new developments will be constructed on top of existing paved parking lots. Raucher assured the alumni that two new parking structures will make up for the paved lots being lost. The parking capacity of the university wouldn't change, she said, it will just be shifted around with new infrastructure.

Raucher also told the audience that the new softball stadium will be completed in time for the beginning of the softball season in March. On Opening Day for the season, the team will be celebrating its 40th anniversary at the university in their new stadium.