Garrett Hall renewed as Batten School home

With Virginia's outgoing U.S. Senator giving a kick-off speech, the University of Virginia opened its 11th school last week in a building that got a spiffy renovation that recalls its earliest days as UVA's first major dining hall.

Garrett Hall, which originally opened in 1909, reopened with a series of events October 20 and 21 including a talk by Senator Jim Webb in the Great Hall, what was originally the dining hall and which regains some of the splendor and space stolen by 102 years of renovation and repurposing. The building is the new home for the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

The building was originally designed by Stanford White, the bon vivant creator of such classics as the original Madison Square Garden and that trio of structures, including Old Cabell Hall, that he placed to close off the south end of the UVA Lawn. Handled by Pasadena-based Architectural Resources Group and Staunton-based Frazier Associates, the renovation restores many things including the original two-story, light-filled vestibule with floor-to-ceiling windows.

The $12.2 million project was primarily funded, according to a UVA release, from the $100 million gift from the late Frank Batten, the man who transformed Landmark Communications from publisher of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot into a multi-media powerhouse that would eventually (but no longer) include the Weather Channel.

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