Construction Begins for UVA’s Education Resource Center

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Construction is underway for the Education Resource Center (ERC) on the University of Virginia’s (UVA) medical campus in Charlottesville.

Designed by Los Angeles-based CO Architects, the $20 million ERC will fill a gap on a tight site between the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center and a hospital parking garage. The four-level, 46,000-square-foot facility is located across the street from the front entrance of the University of Virginia Medical Center.

“The Education Resource Center takes advantage of its strategic location and is designed as a simple connector to allow people access to the cancer center, hospital and garage,” said Paul Zajfen, design principal at CO Architects, in a statement. The architecture firm also designed the Claude Moore Medical Education Building for UVA School of Medicine.

The ERC comprises four levels to support educational programs and patient services. The basement will be used for diagnostic procedures, including radiology and MRI scans, and a pharmacy is planned for the ground floor. The second floor is designed with multipurpose learning spaces and a procedural simulation lab for graduate medical education. It will provide access to an enclosed walkway leading over the street from the parking garage to the hospital lobby. On the top floor — set back from the lower levels to minimize the building mass on the constricted site —future offices, learning environments and additional simulation spaces are planned.

CO Architects is collaborating with Train & Partners of Charlottesville to achieve a LEED Silver–rating for the project. The main façade will be sheathed in high-performance, fritted glass and shaded by a metal canopy extending from the second level. Located next to railroad tracks, the rear exterior wall will be clad in brick.

The new ERC’s green roofs will absorb stormwater run-off and provide visual interest from the hospital’s patient rooms across the street. Grass-planted, sloping planes will extend from the concrete-paved plaza at the front of the building to the second level and basement. An outdoor staircase provides access from the plaza to the second-floor educational spaces. Benches provide waiting places next to the drop-off area at the street.

The project team also includes landscape architect Siteworks of New York; lighting designer Kaplan Gehring McCarroll of El Segundo, Calif.; structural engineer Nolen Frisa Associates of Forest, Va.; MEP/FP Engineer Bard, Rao + Athanas of Boston; Civil Engineer RMF Engineering of Baltimore; and contractors McCarthy Building Companies of St. Louis and Donley’s of Cleveland.

The Donley’s and McCarthy team is already at work on a separate $18 million HVAC project for the UVA hospital, which began in August 2013. The team is replacing 11 air-handling units in a two-year project that’s expected to complete by August 2015.

The ERC is scheduled to open in 2016.