The Corner Building in which the Women's Center is typically located has been home to a wide variety of offices over its many years at UVA. It housed entities such as the University Book Store and University Tea Room in earlier days. Many UVA alumni recall it as the site of the University's Student Health Services for many years. The current configuration of the space occupied by the Women's Center still reflects this era of the building's history in many ways with many small rooms along long, narrow hallways. This arrangement with doors inside offices that lead directly to other offices limits the uses to which some spaces can be put by an ocupant such as the Women's Center where the privacy of counseling offices is of such importance to the quality and quantity of services provided.
Despite the challenges presented by the aging systems and odd configurations of rooms, the Women's Center is known among students as a welcoming space with an atmosphere that is unique on Grounds. The current renovation will be mindful of opportunities to further advance the Women's Center's mission by making students participating in engaged scholarship programs or being seen for counseling feel at home in our space.
IMPACT OF RENOVATION
Impact for Counseling
Suitable counseling spaces reinforce the message that students' well-being is a priority and not an afterthought at UVA. Counseling clients will experience an environment that is more private and welcoming in many ways:
- Clients can wait for appointments in a new, more private waiting area closer to their counselors' offices.
- All six members of our counseling staff will have private offices with natural light for individual client sessions.
- Support groups will be able to meet in a cozy and quiet lounge downstairs that is free from interruptions.
- Counseling sessions will be relieved of noise that in the past has resulted from students and staff who had to pass through the counseling area to access non-counseling spaces upstairs. The newly opened stairway at the front of the building will allow this traffic to avoid the counseling area altogether making the whole main floor much quieter.
Impact for Engaged Scholarship
All who come for meetings, outreach events, trainings, library access, volunteering, or drop-in study hours will experience a more welcoming and functional space.
- Middle school students in our mentoring programs will enjoy access to the maker space on the lower level.
- Students and visitors will more easily find their way with the opening of the front stairway to the upper level from the reception area.
- Students, graduate fellows, and staff will work together collaboratively and interact informally in new flexible-use spaces on the upper and lower levels.
- New spaces for work, study, trainings, and events are being created from lower level space that was limited to being used for storage in the past when not all of the rooms were connected and there was no bathroom on that level.
- New options for meeting the needs of visitors with disabilities will arise from improvements to the lower level. Using doors on the rear of the building to provide on-grade access to the lower level will allow us to welcome those who need an ADA-compliant bathroom to attend meetings or events and to use that level’s work and study spaces.
- Budget-relieving utilities upgrades will prevent erosion of funding for programs by wasteful, outdated systems.