Rotunda Ready! - Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative

Rotunda Ready!

Program Returns Students to the Rotunda

Students returning to Grounds this fall will find the first phase of the Rotunda renovation largely complete. This phase included replacing the rusting steel panels that once covered the dome with a copper roof; contractors completed the $4.69 million project months ahead of schedule this spring. In addition to replacing the leaking roof and oculus, the first phase included exterior repairs to the brick walls of the Rotunda’s cylindrical drum structure, its windows and some of its ornamental sheet metal. Plans to paint the copper roof will proceed with the onset of the cooler, drier weather of fall.

With the current phase of Rotunda renovation work concluding, the Dome Room and all interior spaces are now fully operational. The new school year will see a series of pilot programming changes designated for student uses, including extended study hours, more classes, and the resumption of the tradition of first-year dinners. The schedule is designed to get more first-year students into the Rotunda, giving them a sense of ownership.

One of the most popular traditions on Grounds, first-year dinners are a yearly event where first-year residential associations share a meal together in the historic Dome Room of the Rotunda. According to Gay Perez, associate dean of students and executive director of housing and residence life, the First-Year Dinners are a good way to integrate new students into the life of the University. “They provide a unique experience for our first-year students across Grounds, one that embraces Jeffersonian ideals of building community and engaging in intellectual discourse,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to share a meal together in a historic place that’s closely linked into the academic and social fabric at UVA”

The Rotunda will be open for students to study until 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and until midnight every night during exam periods. The schedule includes first-year dinners in the Dome Room on Wednesday nights, and classes taught in the Lower West Oval Room Mondays through Wednesdays.

In May, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell approved the General Assembly’s 2013 budget, which included capital project funding for the Rotunda’s continued renovation. The state’s anticipated financial commitment is roughly $24 million to continue the Rotunda’s renovation. A University fundraising campaign accompanies this public funding, and aims to raise the balance in donor funds to complete the $51.6 million project.

For more information on the new programming coming to the Rotunda, visit