Arena Plans to be Decided

Belle writes: Later this week, UVa’s Athletic Director and some hired, out-of-town architects will present to UVA’s Board of Visitors their suggestions for the size and scope of the new basketball/”multi-purpose” arena. Jerry Ratcliffe had the story in this weekend’s Progress, but the story can still be had at the paper’s website. Note: neighborhood residents are already outraged by the perceived lack of the communication between their elected representatives on Council, the University, and the neighborhood association about the Ivy Road parking lot, a subsidiary project for the University’s arena plans.

11 thoughts on “Arena Plans to be Decided”

  1. VMDO is the lead architecture firm on the arena project. Their offices, last time I drove by there (this morning), are located on Market Street downtown. Ellerbe-Becket is a consulting firm (they’re the out-of-towners I suspect are named here) who have experience in arenas all over the country and the world.

    There’s a certain tone that seems to be taking over here, and I’m not so much a fan. Seems like in the past, submissions were pretty much straight-up news blurbs and the opinions came out in the discussion threads. Not so much any more.

  2. I agree that VMDO (the Charlottesville-based firm) is the “lead architect” on the project, but I hasten to point out that theyíve never– so far as Iím aware — done a project of this size and nature. Iím sure someone here will point out my error if Iím wrong, but I suspect this will be the firmís biggest project ever, and for a type of facility for which they donít have great experience.

    Thatís why the architects of Ellerbe Becket (of Kansas City), are on board as “associates”; you accurately describe them as the arena experts that they are.

    What I had in mind when I wrote the introductory “blurb” was the critical role of out-of-town consultants in this massive project was the recurring debate here on this board about the relationship between: local decision makers (on City Council and the BOV)’ and outside advisers for the Mall, Transfer Station, and Ė here Ė the new basketball/ anything-end-stage venue; and neigborhood residents.

    It is tough to squeeze all such ideas into the single sentence or two required for a cvillenews.com submission for discussion. (Perhaps, you’d like to give it a try sometime, Anonymous?) But the nature of the forum allows the complexity of news stories to be explored in way not possible in the short blurbs, as you’ve shown here. So, thanks.

  3. Seems like in the past, submissions were pretty much straight-up news blurbs and the opinions came out in the discussion threads.

    I’m not sure which way to go on this, frankly. Plastic and Slashdot have enjoyed great success by allowing the occasional insertion of opinions into the submissions (actually, Plastic has ’em in most submissions.) The idea behind this is that it stirs up discussion right off the bat. A purely “just the facts, ma’am” submission will often have 0 comments unless somebody seeds the conversation with a strong opinion, giving other people something to play off of. See the other story today about the elections, in which I gave my opinion in the story itself, for an example.

    For now, I figure we’ll slip a few of these in and see what happens. Personally, I don’t see a whole lot of opinion coming out here, least of all compared to some of the submissions that I get. :) I’d like to see what this sort of thing does in the way of discussion and reactions (such as your own), and figure out if submissions that contain so much as a hint of opinion should be tossed out or, instead, encouraged. Think of it as an experiment. :)

  4. Unless I’m mistaken, and I could very well be, VMDO was also the lead architectural firm on the recent Carl W. Smith Center At Scott Stadium Home of David A. Harrison Field enlargement. That was a pretty massive job.

  5. Check out their site. It reports that they did the baseball stadium expansion, a few primary schools, the Water St. parking garage, St. Thomas Aquinas…a bunch of stuff.

  6. This is really not much different then a large legal case that might happen in Richmond federal court for example. A national specialty law firm will be the quaterback of the case while the local firm will fill in the gaps. In some ways a vitural coporation created for just that event.

    In the case of the new arena the major national firm does the broad strokes of the projects and the local firm figures out the layout of the bathrooms and where the electrical outlets go. That is an oversimplification but hopefully makes the point. VMDO is the “sub” on the project, though they would take exception to that word

    PO

  7. The difference in size Ė as reckoned by dollars amounts is:

    Big_Al writes:Unless I’m mistaken, and I could very well be, VMDO was also the lead architectural firm on the recent Carl W. Smith Center At Scott Stadium Home of David A. Harrison Field enlargement. That was a pretty massive job.

    Rebuild/expansion of (David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium of) the Carl Smith Center = $86 million

    New arena for basketball, et al. (and connector road to bypass?) =$128 million.

  8. Anonymous (or “PO”) writes: A national specialty law firm will be the quaterback of the case while the local firm will fill in the gaps. In some ways a vitural coporation created for just that event.

    In which case, who would be making the recommendation about size/layout (although I do think I remember that they’ve decided on the so-called “end-stage” layout . . .which makes it multipurpose)? This is the topic scheduled for the BOV/AD/architects meeting this week — and what decision they take has major repurcusions not only for the Lewis Mtn. neighborhood but for the city as a whole.

  9. “In which case, who would be making the recommendation about size/layout (although I do think I remember that they’ve decided on the so-called “end-stage” layout . . .which makes it multipurpose)?”

    The client does. The University must decide how much arena they can afford. After being given options with pricetags they will direct the firms as to the University’s choice. I don’t believe the type of arena will have much bearing on the parking garage unless they decided to go for a larger arena,(one that exceeds 15,000). The larger the arena the more parking WILL be built.

    PO

  10. Are you saying you don’t think they’re qualified for the job simply because it’s larger than they’ve done before? It seems they’ve performed admirably with the stadium expansion, Klockner Stadium, and many other jobs. Calling in an outside expert only makes sense, and I say give the University credit for letting a local qualified firm take the lead on this. With their other numerous jobs for UVA, they seem to have earned it.

    And having been to many, many stadia, I think they did a beautiful job with the football stadium. They were given a really bizarre structure to start with, and improved upon it in more ways than I would have imagined possible.

  11. Big Al writes: Are you saying you don’t think they’re qualified for the job simply because it’s larger than they’ve done before? It seems they’ve performed admirably with the stadium expansion, Klockner Stadium, and many other jobs. Calling in an outside expert only makes sense, and I say give the University credit for letting a local qualified firm take the lead on this.

    Just to return to the measure of millions: KlŲckner was built for $3.4 million. The Harrison/Scott/Smith Center was built for $86 million (after an original projection of $50 million). The new hoops/multi-function job is projected at $128 million.

    Thatís HUGE. Perhaps it is even the biggest project in the City/City-ring (Iím sure someone will correct me here if Iím wrong).

    All that I am (or was, as this thread becomes increasingly mired in a small detail of my “blurb” Ė though the exchange is certainly a worthwhile one) trying to bring forward for discussion is that: the most significant details (i.e., size and therefore some aspects of design . . . which leads to the venue function, frequency of use, type of events, etc.) will be discussed and (perhaps) decided later this week in a meeting at the Rotunda. What they decide will have great impact on the neighborhood and the City.

    Thatís worth discussing, I think.

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