New name for Darden hotel; Committee to review designs for Olympic center, Karsh Institute of Democracy

The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors is in town this week and begin committee meetings today . That includes the Buildings and Grounds Committee, which has a few items of note on the agenda tomorrow. 

First, the new hotel at the Darden School of Business is to be named after Frank Sands, a 1963 Darden Graduate. 

“Mr. Sands, who passed away in 2021, served as a leader in his field and his community, and spent countless hours offering counsel and guidance as a member of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees,” reads the staff report in the packet.

Sands made a $68 million donation to Darden in the name of his late wife, the largest single donation in school history. The hotel will be run by Klimpton Hotels & Restaurants. The hotel itself is to be marketed as the Forum Hotel. 

“Given that a forum is a place that facilitates the exchange of ideas and the discussion of important public issues, the proposed marketing name aligns with the University’s commitment to free expression and inquiry and open discussion,” the staff report continues. 

The hotel got under construction in the spring of 2021 and is expected to be completed next spring. 

The Buildings and Grounds Committee will also see the schematic design for a $75 million Olympic Sports Center intended to support 27 varsity sports. 

“The Olympic Sports Center program includes training and performance areas, locker rooms, sports medicine, hydrotherapy pool areas, work environments for staff and coaches, conference and meeting rooms, sports nutrition, and building support spaces comprising a total square footage of approximately 100,000 [gross square feet],” reads the staff report. 

A conceptual site plan for the proposed Olympic Sports Center (Credit: University of Virginia)

Committee members will also see a schematic design for the new Karsh Institute of Democracy in the Ivy Road corridor. 

“The Karsh Institute of Democracy is envisioned as an ecosystem of spaces designed to support scholarship and engagement around the challenges that face democracy,” reads that staff report. “The four-story facility will include an approximately 425- seat state-of-the-art auditorium that will enable events to be hosted in-person and broadcast globally.” 

Visit the Board of Visitors website for more information on this week’s meeting. 


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 8, 2022 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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