After 40 years on Grounds the education building is undergoing a major transformation.

Ruffner is set for a complete renovation.Students, faculty and staff at the Curry School are enduring some temporary disruption as Ruffner Hall, which has housed Curry since 1973, undergoes renovations and upgrades.

The work, which started in January and will continue until the summer of 2014, will improve the overall space for current and future academic use by upgrading Ruffner’s aging infrastructure systems, removing asbestos and improving the traffic flow between Ruffner and Bavaro Hall.

“The primary benefit to Curry from the renovation will be to make the space more usable to students and faculty,” said Mark C. Hampton, senior associate dean for strategy and planning at Curry. “For example, the electrical system was designed at a time when electrical outlets were only needed for vacuum cleaners and lamps. Some of the most popular places for students to study in Ruffner Hall have been on the floor in front of electrical outlets. It will be really nice
to fix that.”

Lynn K. Rush, project manager for Facilities Management, said the $19.3 million renovation will restructure the existing space for faculty offices and academic programs and create additional classrooms, administrative offices and student study group space.

The renovation will improve life at Ruffner in a number of ways, Hampton said.

“Prior to the renovation, Ruffner was an extremely noisy building, which led many faculty to close their doors while they were working. Acoustic improvements, including carpeted hallways, noise-abating surfaces and better HVAC ducting will make a huge difference and will undoubtedly make Ruffner a better place to work and collaborate.”

He said while most of the work was basic, there is one “frill.”

“Our one ‘splurge’ is that we will be dedicating some space in the main lobby to house a food and beverage service that will allow students and faculty to grab a quick bite to eat or cup of coffee between classes,” Hampton said.

The building’s footprint will remain the same, but there will be some exterior changes. These include a new sidewalk near the south parking lot with curb ramps and a new entrance onto the courtyard at Bavaro Hall.

While the work is being conducted, classes for Curry students are being held in the Dell Buildings, Thornton Hall, the School of Nursing, Monroe Hall and other Central Grounds buildings. The faculty and staff formerly housed at Ruffner have moved to the second floor of Olsson Hall, One Morton Drive, the Dell buildings and other locations on the Grounds.

“For the next year and a half, almost half of our faculty and staff will be in various places on Grounds and off Grounds,” Hampton said. “Furthermore, all of the Ruffner classrooms...will be unavailable. Needless to say, people are going to be doing a lot more walking.”

Hampton said that people seem to be managing the transition well, however. “I think a lot of that is due to a real sense of excitement that students and faculty feel knowing that they will be coming back to a much more functional and inviting building.”

By Matt Kelly, U.Va. Media Relations

Related Article: When Ruffner Was New

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