UVA Building and Grounds Committee briefed on Sustainability and Emmet-Ivy Corridor

The December 9 meeting of the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting was a shorter one than usual, but members were briefed on several items of note. One related to UVA’s sustainability efforts. Colette Sheehy is the Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government at UVA.

“You’ll recall that the big audacious goal for sustainability is to be carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil-fuel free by 2050,” Sheehy said. “Overall our emissions are down by 44 percent over the last decade which is equivalent to about 160,000 tons of carbon.” 

However, that doesn’t include the carbon footprint of new buildings built at UVA during the period, though they are built to LEED certification according to Green Building Standards. Sheehy said UVA has to do more to meet its goals.

“In order to reach our carbon neutrality goal by 2030, we need to reduce our current emissions by another 160,000 tons and probably another 36,000 related to new construction,” Sheehy said. 

Sheehy also briefed the Buildings and Grounds Committee on efforts to reduce single-use plastics in order to comply with an executive order from Governor Ralph Northam. She said it’s a University-wide effort. 

“The biggest challenge is actual single-use plastic water bottles which is why you now see aluminum water bottles used to the extent that we can get them,” Sheehy said. “One of the issues is supply-chain and quantity, particularly if you are at a football and tens of thousands of water bottles that are sold.” 

A slide from the Buildings and Grounds presentation from Thursday (download)

Sheehy concluded her presentation with an update on construction of the new Emmet-Ivy precinct, which will house the School of Data Science, the Karsh Democracy Institute, and a hotel and convention center. Utility work has been underway on the site of the former Cavalier Inn, which was demolished to make way for the future. 

“We expect to be complete with all the utility and road work that sits outside the construction fencing by the end of the first quarter of 2022,” Sheehy said. 

The south side of Ivy Road will also be altered with new retaining walls and a monumental staircase leading up to the International Residential College

“The foundation work for Data Science should start in early January with completion of that building in the fall of 2023,” Sheehy said. “The plan is the hotel should begin construction in the spring with completion in the fall of 2024.” 

Design work has begun for the Karsh Institute of Democracy. Höweler+Yoon is the architect. 

Emmett Streetscape news

There was also news about the Emmet Street Streetscape, one of the first projects funded through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Smart Scale process. A design public hearing of the $12 million project was held in December 2019 and is being overseen by the City of Charlottesville. Alice Raucher is the UVa Architect. 

“They submitted their complete documents to VDOT which is one of the required steps in order to begin the negotiations for the right of way,” Raucher said. 

Appraisals are underway for the easements or property acquisitions needed for the project. Raucher had no timetable for when that might happen. The Emmet Streetscape runs from Ivy Road to Arlington Boulevard and includes a 10-foot wide multiuse path on the western side of the road. (read the brochure)


Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the December 13, 2021 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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