Groundbreaking ceremonies launch VCU’s largest construction project

Groundbreaking ceremonies today officially launched the construction of the 11-acre, $228 million Monroe Park Campus Addition, the largest project in the history of Virginia Commonwealth University.

The residential campus will be built over the next several years on a tract adjacent to the Monroe Park Campus, east of Belvidere between Main and Canal streets in Richmond.

The first phase of the project includes construction of a new School of Business, an expansion of the School of Engineering, renovation of the historic Central Belting Building for the VCU Adcenter, the first of two residential colleges and an underground parking garage.

“This is a transforming project for Virginia Commonwealth University, our schools of business and engineering and the City of Richmond,” said VCU President Eugene P. Trani. “Civic and business leaders have worked hand in hand with university officials in the planning of this new campus and its programs, leading to producing graduates with technical and business savvy who will advance the economic vitality of our community, commonwealth and country.”

Trani noted that the new campus is a true public-private partnership. Phase I of the project is estimated to cost $165 million. The state appropriated $25.3 million for the project and university funding and income generated from student housing, parking and food services are estimated to generate more than $60 million. The remainder, more than $79 million or about half of the estimated cost, will be funded through private donations to the campaigns for Business, Engineering and the VCU Adcenter.

The fundraising campaigns for the schools of business and engineering have reached 75 percent and 87 percent of their goals, respectively.  The campaigns were boosted by $43 million pledged to the campaigns by William and Alice Goodwin, Jr., and by Steven and Kathie Markel. 

The business and engineering buildings will be joined by a common atrium and student commons. The new facilities will allow the schools to add about 2,000 students.

The 130,000 square-foot School of Business will include a trading room, tiered case-study classrooms, team building rooms, an auditorium, a career center, a corporate education center, faculty offices and a café.

The 115,000 square-foot School of Engineering expansion will include state-of-the-art lecture halls, more than 60 research and teaching labs, student meeting and study spaces, classrooms and faculty offices.

Renovations to the Belting Building for the Adcenter, VCU’s graduate program in advertising, are expected to be complete in early 2007. The business and engineering buildings and the 800-car underground parking garage are targeted for completion in late August 2007. The first 400-bed residential college is expected to be opened for fall semester 2008.

Construction is not yet scheduled for Phase II of the project, which will include the second residential college and an executive conference center. 

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see