Bird’s Eye View: Construction of UVA Inn at Darden Gets Vertical

30 July 2021

By Jay Hodgkins

Construction of the UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, is taking on a new dimension: up!

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.

The School seeks additional philanthropy to help drive completion of the inn and conference center, arboretum and botanical gardens, and adjacent C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall.

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 or +1-434-982-2151.

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.


Press Contact

David Hendrick
Associate Director, Editorial & Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia