New Roof Over Its Head: i.Lab Moving to New Location on Darden Grounds

By Jay Hodgkins

As part of numerous upgrades planned for the buildings and facilities at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, the W.L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory (i.Lab) will transition this summer from its existing North Grounds location to new space in Darden’s core academic building.

“For over a decade, the i.Lab has been a hallmark of our commitment to innovation and entrepreneurial thinking,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley. “This exciting new chapter for the i.Lab allows us to embed cutting-edge, flexible spaces at the heart of the Darden student experience, fulfilling our commitment to unparalleled transformational learning.”

The i.Lab’s new home will be in Darden’s main classroom building, providing student innovators and entrepreneurs with direct access to resources and guidance. Expanded i.Lab facilities will include flat classrooms, shared workspaces, collaboration spaces and makerspaces. Construction is expected to begin in summer 2020, with an initial fall launch of courses, programs and other initiatives in the new space.

The i.Lab’s current home, Sponsors Hall, is scheduled to be demolished during the next academic year as part of construction of the new UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning — a project jumpstarted by a record-setting gift to Darden from Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63). The effort to upgrade many of Darden’s buildings and facilities is one of four priorities comprising Darden’s $400 million Powered by Purpose campaign.

Convenient New Facility for Experiential Learning and Venture Programs

Since 2011, the i.Lab has provided an innovative environment for forward-thinking Darden programs, including courses on design thinking, software development, financial innovation and effectual problem-solving. Those courses and many others will now be offered in the flat classrooms planned for the new i.Lab venue. The new i.Lab will host workshops, simulations, demonstrations and events throughout the year.

Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will further leverage the new facilities to host a range of experiential, hands-on venture-related programs. Among these will be VentureLab, an early stage incubator program open by application to any current student, faculty and staff at the University of Virginia or the UVA College at Wise, as well as recent UVA alumni. Opportunities for experienced entrepreneurs and other experts to serve as venture mentors and advisers will be available through the Batten Institute.

“This bold move for the i.Lab marks an exciting development in our capacity to serve our community of innovation-driven and entrepreneurial leaders,” said David Touve, senior director of ventures at Darden’s Batten Institute. “This new facility will directly contribute to the dynamism of Darden’s learning environment, and we are grateful for the opportunities these new resources present for the future.”

For more information about the future home of the i.Lab and transition plans, please visit the Batten Institute’s Ventures FAQ.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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