Originally a dining hall dubbed “the Commons” by students, Garrett Hall was approved by the UVA Board of Visitors on June 11, 1906. The structure’s cost was pegged at $21,000, more than the cost of the President’s home on Carr’s Hill, which was conceived the same year by renowned architecture firm McKim, Mead and White. Two weeks later, Stanford White, who redesigned the Rotunda after it burned to the ground and also blocked off the South Lawn, was shot and killed on the Madison Square Roof Garden. (The story later became central to E.L. Doctorow’s novel, Ragtime.) The building was completed in 1909. Read below for more details.
Garrett Hall, circa summer 2011, and near the end of its two-year, $12.2 million renovation.
Over a century after its construction, and after nearly two years of renovation work, Garrett Hall was officially dedicated last week as home to UVA’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. The former dining hall space is now a renovated “Great Hall,” a 200-seat space that Batten Dean Harry Harding calls one of UVA’s “most spectacular” in a press release. Projected to cost $8.6 million, the Garrett Hall renovation ultimately ran an estimated $12.2 million tab.
“The Batten School is our youngest school, but it is focused on one of the oldest goals of the University and draws on a rich tradition that extends back to the founding ideals expressed by Jefferson 200 years ago,” said UVA President Teresa Sullivan in a press release. “He believed that the University should teach ‘useful knowledge’ to its students to equip them for the leadership of our democracy.”