University Center Project

Campus Center image

New University Center (artist rendering)

It’s great to be on the campus of the University of Mary Washington where exciting things are happening every day to benefit our students and improve the campus experience!

The latest building project to be launched is the construction of a new University Center building in the heart of campus. The venerable Chandler Hall building has been razed, and the new University Center is rising in its place.

University Center - July 11, 2014

University Center – July 11, 2014


The latest development in the project is the rise of the steel framework above Ball Circle, and the appearance of walls and windows. The peak of the roof is now a visual indication of the finished height of the building.

Pedestrian Passage

A new fence corridor in the grass median along the College Avenue sidewalk in front of the construction site, beginning at the crosswalk at Payne Street and ending at the crosswalk at Rowe Street, is intended to encourage the use of the crosswalks and prevent conflicts between pedestrians, other sidewalk transportation and construction traffic.  This corridor will remain in effect for the duration of the project.

This section of sidewalk will be restricted to pedestrian traffic as well as handicap-accessible vehicles such as motorized wheelchairs.  Bicyclists and skateboarders will be asked to dismount and walk if they choose to use this route.  Vehicles such as golf carts or “gators” will be asked to use the crosswalks or internal routes such as Campus Walk including the connecting walk from Woodard to Melchers Hall to transit to or from the north end of campus.  Should you have any questions, please contact Les Johnson at (540) 654-2100.

(For more information, contact Facilities Services, Les Johnson, at (540) 654-2100.)


College Avenue Traffic Patterns

The following is provided to maintain clear communication regarding the traffic pattern and impact of construction on College Avenue.

Please be alert for any changes in traffic patterns on College Avenue during construction for the new University Center.  The specific impacts are as follows:

  • “No Parking” will continue on the UMW side of College Avenue along the construction site until July 2015. Parking on the other side of College Avenue will experience occasional limitation.

The University appreciates your understanding during this period of construction. 


The University of Mary Washington and the University of Mary Washington Foundation have engaged Burt Hill, a Stantec Company, to design a new University Center and board dining facility on the existing Chandler Hall site.

 Stantec  Donley's  

Construction will be undertaken by Donley’s Construction.  Donley’s  also completed the Eagle Village project.

A quick timeline overview:

  • June 2013 – Demolition of Chandler Hall begins
  • Fall 2013 – Construction of new University Center begins
  • Fall 2015 – Expected opening of new University Center


Site Selection

In fall 2010 a site recommendation committee, advisory to the Master Plan Committee, was assembled.  Members included representatives from Student Affairs, Facilities Services, the Department of Historic Preservation, the Student Government Association, and the Commonwealth of Virginia Historic Resources Management.  After studying the historic significance of both Chandler and Seacobeck halls, he committee ultimately recommended that Chandler Hall be the site of the new campus center.  Seacobeck Hall was deemed more historically significant to campus, having retained its original 1931 Charles M. Robinson design.  Earlier renovations to Chandler Hall had compromised its historic significance to campus.

The Board of Visitors of the University of Mary Washington, by resolution adopted on July 16, 2011, authorized and approved an agreement between the University and the University of Mary Washington Foundation, for the design, construction and financing of a new campus center and the use of 9(d) revenue bond proceeds to purchase the campus center from the Foundation upon completion.

Additional Steps in the Planning Process

Aug. 17, 2011 Programming and Concept Design Work Plan received from Burt Hill
Aug. 31, 2011 Student opinion survey administered
Sept. 2011 Faculty/Staff opinion survey administered
Sept. 7-8, 2011 Student focus groups held
Sept. 20, 2011 “Town Hall” information session held for the University community
Sept. 21, 2011 “Town Hall” information session held for students
Sept. 22, 2011 “Town Hall”  information session held for faculty
Sept. 2011 Campus Center Design Team formed
Sept. 19, 2011 Design Team subcommittee (“Travel Team”) visit campus center facilities at selected Virginia schools (including VCU, UR, W&M, and CNU)UMW Travel Team
Nov. 2011 Approval gained to increase cost of the project from $45 million (original estimate) to $60 million.
Dec. 8, 2011 Announcement that the project start would be delayed from summer 2012 to summer 2013 in order to plan and begin renovations to both Woodard Campus Center and Mercer Hall in order to provide facilities for academic departments displaced from Chandler Hall.
April 2012 The Board of Visitors passed an amended resolution approving the increased project cost.
April 2012 A Campus Center Implementation Committee was formed.


Other Building Projects

Check out progress on the Convergence Center, expected to open during the summer of 2014.