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University of Virginia Breaks Ground on Contemplative Commons

10.08.21 | News

UVA TODAY- October 8, 2021

“Cloudy skies didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of University of Virginia leaders and guests Friday morning as they celebrated the groundbreaking of the Contemplative Commons in person and gave several standing ovations to the speakers. The ceremony took place on the site of the future interdisciplinary building at the Dell on Emmet Street.

David Germano, executive director of the Contemplative Sciences Center, which will be part of the Commons, began the event with an appropriate gesture – leading a meditation session, with speakers, supporters, faculty, staff and students gathered near the Dell pond.

“While we inhabit [our] sensations, and maintain our awareness of this place and people, let us consider our intentions,” he said. “Young people in times of unprecedented change, complexity and challenges. The renewal of our commitment on Grounds to innovations in the built environment, to designing places that inspire and relax, places that support the flourishing of students, local community, staff and faculty.”

The Dell pond was created in 2004 when Meadow Creek was unearthed from underground pipes as part of a stormwater management project supporting the creation of the John Paul Jones Arena. The creekside site has provided many different uses, with Germano saying Meadow Creek “provided the water of life for the original Academical Village, and its history since then has included being a farmland, a golf course, an ice skating pond and an elaborate 1920s garden,” as well as basketball courts and a parking lot in recent decades.

“One of the overarching goals of the 2030 Strategic Plan,” Ryan said, “is to cultivate the most vibrant community in higher education, in order to prepare our students to be servant-leaders in a diverse and globally connected world. … The programming and activities in this building will support our students’ physical, emotional, social and professional needs. In short, it will support student flourishing at UVA.”

When it opens in 2023, the 57,000-square-foot Contemplative Commons will take full advantage of its idyllic location alongside the Dell pond and several new outdoor spaces, including contemplative gardens, a tree-lined courtyard and a new green pedestrian bridge across Emmet Street.”

Read more here.

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