Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative
The Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative is the first-ever comprehensive project to restore, renovate and repair the Academical Village, home of the University’s most treasured historic buildings and landscapes for nearly 200 years. Although the University did not publicly announce JGI in name until the campaign’s final 18 months, work on this historic undertaking began in 2006 with extensive research, discussion and planning. The initiative addresses a broad sweep of needs and priorities, including the current Rotunda renovation and expanded use of the Academical Village. JGI also heralds a new age of engagement with the public. Early milestones include completion of Historic Structure Reports for many of the buildings in the Academical Village and the first phase of the forthcoming Cultural Landscape Report detailing the conditions of U.Va.’s historic gardens and grounds. In addition to completing the first phase of the Rotunda renovation, the University completed renovation and repair of Lawn and Range room chimneys, fully restored and renovated Pavilion X, renovated Pavilions II and IX, restored roofs on the West Range and began design of new interpretive and exhibit content for visitors.
Keep the Fires Burning
Approximately 350 supporters contributed to one of the earliest milestones of JGI: completion of the “Keep the Fires Burning” campaign. The funds raised — $1.7 million in private gifts that included a $1 million challenge grant from the Alumni Association — helped complete essential renovations on 103 Lawn and Range Room fireplaces and chimneys, and installed a fire-suppression system so student residents can safely use their fireplaces again.
U.Va.’s most enduring symbol is in the midst of its most extensive renovation since its rebuilding after the 1895 fire. The first phase of the project — focused on roof replacement and repairs to the masonry drum (or exterior wall) — was completed in the fall of 2013. The generosity of private donors, who have contributed $11.5 million to date, was critical to the University’s ability to secure additional Commonwealth of Virginia support this past spring and move forward with the next major phase: renovating the rest of the building and restoring the capitals atop the portico columns.
Gifts at Work
Brown Family Gifts Galvanize the Rotunda Project
Spanning five generations of close association with the University, the Brown family has long provided generous support to various programs and initiatives across the Grounds, including JGI. The Sara Shallenberger Brown Endowed Preservation Fund contributed $1.1 million in income to launch the historic effort to renovate the Rotunda. And in June 2013, Brown family members pledged $1 million through the W.L. Lyons Brown Jr. Fund, led by W.L. “Lee” Lyons Brown Jr. (Col ’58). Just as the family’s first gift, generated by income from the Brown Endowed Preservation Fund, proved invaluable in helping the University secure $2.7 million in first-phase funding from the Virginia General Assembly for replacing the Rotunda roof and Dome Room oculus, the second gift will be hugely beneficial not only for the Rotunda project itself but also for U.Va.’s broader effort to preserve its historic buildings and landscapes. Made in direct response to the state’s recent match of $24 million earmarked for the second phase of Rotunda renovations and repairs, the gift will also benefit the repair and restoration of the roof and railings on the Lawn’s west side, slated to begin in summer 2014.