After demolition of the old Inn at Darden and Sponsors Hall and site work were completed in the first half of the year, construction crews have laid the foundations for portions of the new inn and conference center that will rise in their place. Some of the early foundation work and framing for new buildings are now visible at the site.
Seen from above, a towering crane dominates the skyline on UVA’s North Grounds, moving heavy objects like steel beams into place as materials for the building construction arrives on site. Construction of the UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning, which forms part of the Darden Grounds Master Plan, is expected to be complete in 2023.
The inn and conference center will be surrounded by a new arboretum and botanical gardens, greenspaces that will aim to bolster health and wellness and enhance the connectivity between Darden, the UVA School of Law and all of North Grounds. The spaces will enable a variety of activity, including classes, outdoor meetings, and quiet contemplation, enhancing the overall educational experience at the School and providing new outdoor opportunities for the community.
The arboretum and botanical gardens will feature a variety of thematic gardens, including a Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, International Edibles Garden and a Prehistoric Plants Garden, among others. Additional features will include a pond, a restored stream and a variety of walking trails. The arboretum will also connect to the Rivanna Trail, further joining North Grounds to the broader community.
UVA has committed to making all new buildings and renovations compliant with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, and the new Inn will meet or exceed UVA’s current green building standards. Energy efficient, sustainable building standards are part of UVA’s climate goals to be carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil fuel-free by 2050. The Darden School reached carbon neutrality in 2018 as a result of the UVA Hollyfield solar project.
The project, which received $20 million in initial support from Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63), will benefit the Darden School and UVA in many ways. The modern facility will provide an essential hub and lodging location for Darden Executive Education & Lifelong Learning participants, prospective students visiting Grounds, Executive MBA and Master of Science in business analytics students completing Charlottesville residencies, and the broader UVA and Charlottesville community.
When construction is complete in 2023, the modern inn and conference center will feature 199 hotel rooms, a conference center, flat and tiered classroom space, a restaurant, pub and coffee shop, among other features.
For more information on supporting Darden Grounds through the Powered by Purpose campaign, contact Interim Vice President of Advancement Samantha Hartog at Hartog@darden.virginia.edu or +1-434-982-2151.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia