Master Plan Report 2021

View the PDF of the Master Plan Report (Includes Visuals)


It establishes a holistic view, with special attention given to the values and themes outlined in the University's Strategic Plan (Adopted by the Board of Trustees on May 12, 2018). The plan builds upon Washington and Lee's aspirations for exemplary education, inclusive community, thoughtful citizenship, and extraordinary campus spaces.

The master plan establishes a decade-long vision and provides recommendations for integrating ten capital projects in support of the Strategic Plan. These include: the Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence (Harte Center) in the Leyburn Library, the Institutional Museum; the Williams School expansion; Upper Division Housing; renovation and expansion of Elrod Commons; a new Admission and Financial Center; expansion of the Science Center; expansion of Wilson Hall; and a Softball Field.

Planning Process

The planning process was designed to actively engage the campus community in three phases of work: Phase 1, Discovery and Analysis; Phase 2, Concept Alternatives; and, Phase 3, Documentation.


Engagement with the Washington and Lee campus community took place in each phase of the planning process. The planning team worked with a steering committee comprised of university leadership, faculty and staff. The steering committee provided feedback and direction throughout the process, reflective of the campus community and of the departments and specialties represented.

Campus wide engagement occurred at key points through stakeholder interviews, open forums, and town halls. Students, faculty, staff and alumna were provided opportunities to express their thoughts on the existing campus as well as ideas for the future.

Phase 1: Discovery and Analysis

Phase 1 focused on assessing existing conditions, and on understanding the culture of Washington and Lee. It was guided by the University’s sustainability commitments, taking into consideration social, environmental and economic elements. The planning team completed stakeholder interviews, toured the campus grounds and buildings, and analyzed existing physical conditions. In addition, previous planning studies and enrollment trends were reviewed along with campus life trends. Careful consideration was given to the Capital Projects identified in the 2018 Strategic Plan. The synthesis and analysis of these various data sources informed the development of the “Big Ideas” that guided the master planning process.

Phase 2: Concept Alternatives

Phase 2 built upon the findings of the Discovery and Analysis Phase to inform the development of concept alternatives for the future of the campus. The concepts considered the relationship between the campus and the town of Lexington, the neighboring Virginia Military Institute, and the connection between the Front Campus, Woods Creek and the Back Campus area. Existing academic, residential and student life facilities were integrated into the concepts, along with a careful consideration of outdoor spaces and landscapes. Each concept included strategies for coordinating the university’s capital projects with broader ideas for the campus. The preferred concepts were advanced and vetted with the stakeholders and broader campus community with the goal of arriving at a preferred direction aligned with Washington and Lee’s vision, mission, values and architectural history.

Phase 3: Implementation and Documentation

The final phase of the planning process included the development of the preferred plan in greater detail. The final outcome is this master plan report which is intended to serve as a reference and a record of the final planning and design recommendations.

Planning Drivers


Student enrollment is anticipated to remain stable over the next five to ten years; however, a more diverse student body and faculty population is expected. Additional faculty lines are possible, potentially adding up to 20 new faculty over the life of the master plan. It is understood that new types of gathering environments, student services and housing are required to support a more diverse range of students.

Washington and Lee's Vision and Mission

Washington and Lee’s vision and mission are grounded in the liberal arts tradition with the goal of preparing students for a more complex, global future. The master plan provides physical design recommendations in support of the vision and mission. These recommendations include new types of learning environments, new opportunities for social and cultural engagement, and new types of living arrangements.

Vision Statement

Washington and Lee aspires to be a national model for liberal arts education in the 21st century, building on the university’s community of trust and civility, distinctive curriculum, commitment to institutional citizenship for the benefit of society, and the historic campus.

Mission Statement

“Washington and Lee University provides a liberal arts education that develops students' capacity to think freely, critically, and humanely and to conduct themselves with honor, integrity, and civility. Graduates will be prepared for life-long learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society”

2018 Strategic Plan Themes

The strategic plan identifies four core values or themes:

  1. community,
  2. curriculum,
  3. citizenship, and
  4. campus.


The value of community stems from Washington and Lee's goals to provide a “welcoming, friendly and mutually supportive community.” The strategic plan explains that the strong existing campus community will support a deepening of the university’s core values, an increase in diversity of faculty staff and students, and the rigor of Washington and Lee’s academics. The strategic plan includes community initiatives for improving Washington and Lee’s inclusivity and support structures. Community engagement is the focus, and continuing to foster and support the community is considered to be critical to the continued success of Washington and Lee.

“Quality liberal education overcomes mutual misunderstanding, unites people across their differences and provides all with the opportunity for success”

In support of community, the university is committed to:

  • Sustaining its distinguishing values, academic and professional excellence, and intellectual diversity;
  • Increasing the racial, socioeconomic, and international diversity of students, faculty and staff; and,
  • Including and connecting all members of the community to the university and each other.
Community Considerations

In support of community, the master plan addresses the following facility needs:

  • Collaboration and Inclusion Spaces: “common ground” spaces are provided in Elrod Commons to bring the campus community together for social engagement.
  • Student Organization Space: welcoming spaces for non-Greek organizations are provided to promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding.
  • Office of Inclusion and Engagement: the Office of Inclusion and Engagement is located with the student cultural and engagement space in Elrod Commons to support programs and initiatives.
  • Student Life Facilities: high-quality residential, dining and social options are identified for all students, including those who are not part of Greek organizations.
  • Health and Wellness: opportunities for healthy activities and lifestyles are integrated into the campus environment along with a new Student Health Center.


As a leader in combining the liberal arts, pre-professional education, and public service, the evolution of the curriculum is a key consideration for Washington and Lee. The strategic plan outlines initiatives for strengthening educational offerings, noting how the university’s unique approach to curriculum development has made it a leader in education.

“We must continue to invest in traditional disciplines, while also embracing the 21st-century evolution of liberal education, which involves interdisciplinary inquiry, new modes of teaching, and rapidly changing technology.”

In support of the curriculum, the university is committed to:

  • Investing in 21st-century liberal arts education;
  • Building upon its distinctive curricular structure; and,
  • Supporting innovative teaching and student success.
Master Plan Considerations

In support of curriculum development, the master plan addresses the following facility needs:

  • Learning Environment: new flexible spaces supporting pedagogical innovation are provided in the Leyburn Library, notably the Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence (Harte Center for Teaching and Learning).
  • STEM: 21st century science teaching and research needs are reflected in the proposals for expanding the Science Center.
  • Interdisciplinary Engagement: spaces designed to bring the community together around academic and research ideas are integrated in the Leyburn Library, Science Center and other academic buildings.


According to the strategic plan “the institution has always asked, at each moment in its long history, how it can best contribute not only to the success of its own students, but also to the nation and the world in which they will live.” Washington and Lee works to teach its students how to be exemplary global citizens. The strategic plan identifies initiatives that will allow the university to advance civic engagement, representation of institutional history, and its commitment to environmental stewardship.

“Guided by its motto –non incautus future – the institution has asked at each moment in its long history, how it can best contribute not only to the success of its own students, but also to the nation and the world in which we live”....we have an opportunity to set a national example for how an educational institution examines, teaches and presents its history”

In support of citizenship, the university is committed to:

  • Offering programs designed to foster responsible leadership, service to others and civic engagement;
  • Teaching and presenting its institutional history as comprehensively and accurately as possible; and,
  • Stewarding resources responsibly.
Master Plan Considerations

In support of citizenship, the master plan addresses the following facility needs:

  • Campus and Town: the master plan links campus and town by means of a new gateway proposed at the corner of Washington Street and Lee Avenue, where Admission and Financial Center and an Institutional History Museum are proposed.
  • Institutional Museum and Historical Markers: opportunities are recommended for educating students and visitors within the museum and across the campus about the history of the university and those that contributed to its development.
  • Sustainability: ongoing stewardship initiatives are identified in campus land use and landscape guidelines for future renovation and construction.


The university has worked hard to preserve the campus history while moving forward into the modern world, and the strategic plan aims to further that effort. The plan includes initiatives for providing 21st century spaces while highlighting the important history of the campus.

“Our natural and historic setting, which distinguishes Washington and Lee from other colleges and universities, should be presented in ways that make its appeal evident to prospective members of the community”

In support of the campus, the university is committed to:

  • Providing first-rate facilities that support our mission; and,
  • Taking full educational advantage of our natural setting and historic campus.
Master Plan Consideration

In support of the campus, the master plan addresses the following facility needs:

  • Capital Projects: the capital projects identified in the Strategic Plan are coordinated with the broader recommendations for the campus in support of the W&L Experience.
  • Natural Setting: new ways of connecting the established campus to Woods Creek and the broader natural systems of the surrounding context are provided.
  • Historic Setting: the character of the historic buildings of the campus is preserved while recommending that a more complete understanding of the underlying human story be provided.
A Brief Overview of Institutional History

Washington and Lee University has a long history of adaptation and change in response to social attitudes and financial circumstances. Initially founded in 1749 as Augusta Academy, the institution was located some 20 miles north of Lexington. In 1782, came the move to Lexington, a new name and a new charter. That year the institution was chartered as Liberty Hall Academy by the state of Virginia. A limestone building, Liberty Hall, was erected in 1793 on a hill overlooking Lexington. Today, the ruins of Liberty Hall remain in the north campus area as evidence of this humble beginning. In 1796, George Washington endowed the struggling academy with a gift of stock ensuring its survival. In gratitude, the trustees renamed the institution Washington Academy.

In 1799, John Chavis completed his studies at Washington Academy, becoming the first African American student to attend the school, as well as the first known African American to receive a college education in the United States. By 1813 Liberty Hall had been destroyed by fire and the campus moved to its current location. Following this move, the name of the academy was changed to Washington College.

In 1865, while struggling to survive the aftermath of the Civil War, Robert E. Lee was invited to be president of the college. Under his leadership, the college added a law school, created undergraduate courses in business and journalism, introduced modern languages and applied mathematics, and expanded the natural sciences. When he died in 1870, the trustees renamed the college Washington and Lee University.

In 1964, the university changed its admissions language to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race. In 1968, Walter Blake and Carl Linwood entered the freshman class, and would go on to become the first African American students to receive bachelor’s degrees from Washington and Lee. In 1985, Washington and Lee welcomed its first co-educational freshman class, which included a total of 105 women, six of which were African American. Since that time, the gender distribution of the University has transitioned to become 50% female and 50% male.

History of African Americans at Washington and Lee

In 1795 John Chavis enrolls at Liberty Hall Academy as the first known African American to receive a college education in the United States. Chavis completes his studies in 1799 and becomes a Presbyterian minister in Lexington.

In 1826 John Robinson dies, leaving his estate to Washington College, including some 80 enslaved individuals. Some of the slaves were sold and some were kept to work at the college. The school retained a few slaves until the late 1850s. It was not until 1966 that the school had its first African American undergraduate, Dennis Haston, however Haston transferred after his first year. In the same year, Leslie Smith, became the first African American to enter the law school. Two years later two African American students, Walter Black and Carl Linwood Smothers, enter the freshman class, and would become the first African Americans to receive bachelor’s degrees from the university. In 1977 Reginald Yancey becomes the first African American on the faculty, as an instructor in accounting. When the university goes co-ed in 1985 six African American women joined the freshman class. The next year the university named its cultural center after John Chavis and designates it as a space for minority students. In 2016 the university added a historical marker acknowledging the enslaved men and women that were owned by the university in the 1800s. The marker explains the history, and lists the names of all the known enslaved individuals.

Campus History

The Washington and Lee campus of today can be traced back to Liberty Hall which was constructed in 1793. Following the destruction of the building by fire in 1803, the campus was re- established closer to the heart of downtown Lexington. In 1824, Washington Hall was constructed, which today is the oldest building on campus. Soon after, Payne and Chavis (formerly Robertson) halls were added on either side of Washington Hall to create the iconic Colonnade. University Chapel was added in 1867 while Robert E Lee was president. It includes a museum covering the history of Washington and Lee and is the final resting place for Robert E. Lee. Both the Colonnade and University Chapel are recognized as US Historic Landmark Sites, and together form the Front Campus, a National Historic District. Today, the Front Campus buildings, including the residential scale structures sited in the foreground of the Colonnade, establish a memorable character and identity for the institution.

In 1904, the first master plan was developed for the campus by J.C. Link of Saint Louis, Missouri. Known as the Link Plan, the master plan called for an expansion of the campus to the north of the Colonnade, creating a linear spine of academic buildings along a mall (Stemmons Plaza). Woods Creek and the associated steep slopes were identified as a park-like environment. By 1929, Wilson Field and tennis courts were added north of Woods Creek, and a bridge was added to connect with the athletic building (Doremus Gymnasium) located south of Woods Creek. In subsequent years, the campus expanded further north of Woods Creek. The Law School, and other facilities were added to the east, west and south to create a new relationship with the town of Lexington, and with the neighboring Virginia Military Institute.

The Master Plan Vision

The vision is informed by the history and character of the Front Campus and provides strategies for preserving the architectural and landscape legacy while accommodating emerging and future needs. It is responsive to the 2018 Strategic Plan, the goals and aspirations of the campus community and six “big ideas” that emerged from the planning consultation process. The master plan vision aligns with the spirit of Washington and Lee’s motto: non incautus future - not unmindful of the future. The vision is provided to ensure that implementation of the master plan recommendations can occur incrementally and such that they collectively form a better vision for the future.

Big Ideas

The Big Ideas for the master plan emerged from an analysis of the campus, its history and from the consultation process with the campus community. They guide and inform the recommendations of the master plan and serve as the overarching goals for change and transformation on the campus.

  1. Reinforce the campus core
  2. Realign campus art and memory in the public realm
  3. Embrace Woods Creek as a campus amenity
  4. Develop connections to downtown Lexington
  5. Foster safe, efficient, and accessible mobility
  6. Celebrate diversity and inclusion through parity of student life amenities

Reinforce the Campus Core

The master plan preserves and enhances the core of the campus acknowledging its relevance to the identity of the university and its importance in terms of national and architectural history. In doing so, it provides recommendations for renovating existing buildings while addressing contemporary needs including new types of teaching labs, flexible learning spaces, arts and performance spaces and outdoor classrooms. These recommendations are reflected in the major capital projects proposed in the master plan.

Renovation and new learning environments are proposed to enhance the student experience. These include an expansion of the IQ center, new seminar rooms, music rehearsal spaces, experimental lab environments and outdoor classrooms.

Realign Campus Art and Memory in the Public Realm

The master plan acknowledges the history of the campus including the namesakes, Washington and Lee, while introducing opportunities for recognizing the contributions made by others. Conceptually, the master plan “refracts” the physical place given to the namesakes along the central axis of the Front Campus between the University Chapel and Washington Hall. In doing so, new locations for commemorating the many others who contributed to the building and development of the university are identified, notably, those enslaved to build and operate the institution in its early days. To that end, new locations and special places in the campus landscape should be identified for new art, commemorative installations and memorials. The design and placement of commemorative art and monuments will be determined in future planning studies.

Embrace Woods Creek as a Campus Amenity

Washington and Lee’s identity is formed equally by its location in the Blue Ridge Mountains as well as its more immediate natural surroundings. Specifically, Woods Creek is embraced as the memorable natural asset of the campus. The master plan highlights this important natural corridor as an organizing feature acknowledging the visual, educational, recreational and ecosystem contributions it makes to the campus. The landscape recommendations of the master plan integrate the creek, visually and physically, into the campus. New pathways, bridges and outdoor classrooms are proposed to integrate the creek with daily life.

Develop Connections to Downtown Lexington and the North Campus

The Washington and Lee campus is integral to the townscape of Lexington but in some areas lacks the entrances needed to welcome visitors. The master plan introduces new streetscape and landscape features to establish a new gateway at the intersection of Washington Street and Lee Avenue where a new Admission and Financial Center and Institutional History Museum are proposed.

Expansion to the north or Back Campus over the years has placed Woods Creek at the center of the campus land use pattern but given the topography and lack of connectivity, the creek is viewed as a barrier. The recommendations of the master plan are intended to connect the iconic Front Campus with the emerging areas of the Back Campus. Conceptually, the idea is to make Woods Creek “the center” of the campus and in doing so introduce a range of improvements to existing circulation routes and buildings along the south side of the creek, including the Leyburn Library, the Science Center and Elrod Commons.

Foster Safe, Efficient and Accessible Mobility

The master plan provides a comprehensive network for campus- wide site level accessibility to the degree possible given the challenging topography of the campus. To that end, new bridge connections and accessible routes are proposed in key areas to mitigate topographic conditions. The master plan also prioritizes a comprehensive network for pedestrian connectivity designed to link the Back Campus to the established Front Campus core and beyond to downtown Lexington. This network includes the introduction of enhanced crosswalk areas, a new bridge, and connections to existing and proposed recreation trails along Woods Creek. Similarly, new bicycle routes also are proposed to provide an alternative form of movement around campus and to the surrounding downtown area and neighborhoods. The master plan also provides recommendations for improved vehicular and service access.

Promote Diversity and Inclusion through Parity of Amenities

The master plan includes recommendations for providing a parity of student amenities for a more diverse student body. The idea is to ensure that the Washington and Lee campus continues to welcome a broader range of students, faculty and staff in the years ahead. The recommendations include new housing for upper division students who may not be involved in Greek organizations as well as a new inclusion and engagement center in the Elrod Commons.

Capital Projects and Campus Districts

The projects are as follows: Harte Center, Institutional Museum and Parking; Williams School; Upper Division Housing; Elrod Commons; Admission and Financial Aid Center; Science Center; Wilson Hall; and Softball Field. A preliminary timeline for implementing the projects was considered during the planning process; however, implementation is contingent on funding and a number of other factors.

Each of the projects is described in the context of the campus area in which they are located.

Academic Core Area Project

Buildings surrounding Stemmons Plaza form the academic and student life core of the Washington and Lee campus. These include the Colonnade buildings (Tucker, Chavis, Washington, Payne and Newcomb), the Ruscio Center for Global Learning / DuPont Hall, the Science Center, Leyburn Library, Reid Hall, Huntley Hall (Williams School) and the Elrod Commons. In alignment with the strategic plan, several renovation and building expansion projects are planned in support of the academic and research mission in the Stemmons Plaza area.

Harte Center


The Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence (Harte Center) is a proposed state-of-the-art Teaching and Learning Center with two primary functions:

  1. to support faculty development, through workshops, experimental classrooms, presentations, practice space, and uses of new technology and techniques in teaching; and, 
  2. to support student learning, through tutoring expertise, a writing and communication center, executive function support, group and individual learning sessions, and uses of new technologies for learning.

The master plan integrates the Harte Center program into the Leyburn Library. The proposed 33,000 SF facility is located on Levels 1 and 2 of the building and includes:

  • Academic Support Center; Tutoring and Writing Center, Educations Hub, break-out and informal spaces
  • Learning Skills; Experimental Classroom, Video Recording, editing and audio recording
  • Harte Center and Academic Technology staff space
  • Special Collections Classroom and University Classrooms
  • Library Collection Services
  • Informal Library Seating

In order to accommodate the Harte Center program, compact shelving is proposed on the lowest level of the Leyburn Library. The goal is to consolidate the book collection and thereby free up space for the Harte Center program. Multiple library stacks on Levels 1, 2 and 3 are proposed for consolidation in manual compact shelving units on the ground level 4, freeing up space for the Center for Learning and Teaching spaces and Special Collection classroom space on Lower Level 1, and approximately 9,000 square feet for additional permanent and temporary classrooms on Lower Levels 2 and 3. Temporary classrooms are proposed for Levels 2 and 3 to serve as classroom and seminar academic swing space while academic buildings undergo major renovation, including Huntley Hall and the Science Center.

Science Center Expansion

The Science Center, comprised of Parmly, Howe and the Sci- ence Center addition, is planned for comprehensive renovation along with two additions to include adaptable teaching and laboratory space, and an expansion of the IQ Center. The goal is to accommodate the expanding needs in research lab, teaching lab, classroom, office and support space. Overall, the aim is to enable the adoption of active learning pedagogies. To that end, collaborative maker spaces, additional research and instructional laboratories, including high-bay space are envisioned.

Science Center Vision

Given the complexity of the programmatic needs, concepts for the Science Center received special emphasis in the development of the master plan. This included detailed discussions with faculty members, meetings with a steering and advisory committee and an online survey to gather data and specific information relative to the qualitative and quantitative needs for each program or department in the building. Based on the consultation process, the vision for the future Science Center can be stated as follows:

"The Washington and Lee Science Center will be a hub for interdisciplinary collaboration among the sciences and other departments across the University. It will place science on display and provide the types of flexible, active learning environments needed to facilitate interaction among faculty and students."

A review of the surveys, interview notes and other materials provided during the planning process suggests that the renovation and expansion of the Science Center should be guided by the following:

  • Classrooms: Future classrooms should be active, flexible and dynamic to support a variety of teaching styles, set-ups, and pedagogical changes. This requires movable furniture and robust, integrated technology. Classrooms should be enhanced by huddle rooms and informal areas to “carry teaching outside the classroom”.
  • Teaching Labs: Future teaching labs should be flexible and adaptable to facilitate transitions from seminar discussion to problem solving and then back to discussion. Teaching labs also should be supported by adjacent preparation and storage areas of adequate size and of appropriate configuration to support the lab functions.
  • Research Labs: should be flexible and adaptable to support a variety of faculty needs. It is assumed that all tenure track faculty will be provided with lab space.
  • Shared Resources: The building should feature a shared equipment and instrumentation center with a focus on efficient operation, maintenance, scheduling, purchasing and contract management practices. The center should be staffed by a manager and technicians trained to operate and maintain the equipment and instrumentation. The goal is to avoid duplication and inefficiency.
  • Animal Care Facility: the animal care facility should be expanded and be supported by trained staff.
  • Interdisciplinary Spaces: additional interdisciplinary spaces such as the IQ center should be provided to foster collaboration and innovation. The existing IQ Center should be doubled in size to expand the range and type of equipment on offer and streamline operational and management processes.
  • Collaborative Spaces: the building should feature informal gathering spaces supported by technology and amenities with the goal of bringing people together.
  • Group Study Lounges: spaces featuring white boards, movable furnishings and technology should be integrated into the building to facilitate student collaboration on course work.
  • Department and Program Identity: All departments and programs in the building should have a recognizable identity and “home base” with the goal of creating stronger relationships among faculty and students.
  • Faculty Lounge: a central faculty lounge should be provided to foster interdisciplinary work and collaboration.
  • Science on Display: the Science Center should include more displays of ongoing work, artifacts, models, etc. Labs should be made more “visible” to reveal activities and research.
  • Energy Efficiency: the renovation and expansion of the Science Center should be designed to minimize energy use and the associated emissions. It should be a model of sustainability.
Expansion Strategy

To accommodate the needs of the Science Center, two additions are proposed. The first expands the IQ Center to the west of Parmly Hall. The addition includes two levels: one at the Stemmons Plaza level, and one below at the Leyburn Library plaza level. The expansion is coordinated with the broader campus planning strategy to create the Woods Creek Green Link, the landscape and circulation corridor designed to link Stemmons Plaza with Woods Creek and beyond to the Back Campus.

The IQ Center addition includes additional maker and collaboration spaces over two levels that transition the slope from Stemmons Plaza to the Leyburn Library Plaza level. The addition is envisioned to feature strong indoor/outdoor connectivity with the adjacent plaza level where outdoor classes and experiments can take place. The addition connects directly into the existing spaces in the IQ center. At the plaza level, the addition is located to facilitate connectivity to the Library and to Harte Center. Architecturally, it is imagined as a “garden” pavilion that cascades down the hill potentially featuring a green roof. A main entrance is proposed at the Stemmons Plaza level to make the IQ Center more visible and connected to daily campus life.

The second addition is located on the north side of the building and includes six levels of teaching labs, research labs and office space in a “V” shaped configuration designed to embrace views of Woods Creek. It is integrated into the existing and extended circulation network of the building with the goal of connecting with the existing labs, classrooms and meeting spaces. The vision is to create a “grid” of connectivity through the building. It also includes additional “Great Halls” to provide places to put science on display and to provide areas for gathering and collaboration. One “Great Hall” is proposed between the north wings of Howe Hall and the Science Center addition. A second “Great Hall” is proposed at the center of the two wings of the proposed addition. This second Great Hall offers opportunities for outdoor connections, potentially to Woods Creek. Outdoor connectivity is important to programs such as environmental studies.

Williams School

The proposed renovation features a new central hub, renovated classrooms and group study areas. The aim is to reinvigorate Huntley Hall as the center for academic life and engagement in the Williams School.

The second facility is a new faculty office and classroom building located on the Baker-Davis site, just west of Washington Street. This sister facility to Huntley will include faculty offices on the upper levels and teaching and collaboration spaces on the ground level. The building also incorporates a new Student Health Center, replacing the existing facility located in Davis Hall, which is planned for demolition along with Baker Hall.

Elrod Commons

Existing uses in the building include:

  • Marketplace Level or Woods Level: The Marketplace (dining), Stackhouse Theater, WLUR Radio Station
  • Campus or Colonnade Level: University Store, Atrium, Outing Club Resource Room, Cultural Resources Room, Commons Living Room, Café 77/Emporium
  • Second Level: Chavis Board Room (Commons 206), Student Affairs Staff Offices, Volunteer Resource Room, Women's Resource Room, Game Room
  • Third Floor: Career Development, Student Organizations Suite, Student Publications Offices, Commons 345 (Meeting Room)

Changes in campus activities and programmatic needs, as well as the intensity of use, now require that existing spaces be repurposed and renovated. Specific changes by level of the building include:

Marketplace or Woods Level

The plan calls for new solarium-type additions on the west side (Woods Creek) of the Marketplace Level to provide additional dining seating capacity. Two additions are proposed with a combined total of 2,530 square feet of space and 164 additional dining seats. The additions will facilitate minor reconfiguration of the existing dining and servery areas, including the dish return window.

Campus or Colonnade Level

On the Campus Level, the plan calls for the renovation and reconfiguration of the existing Living Room and Café 77 area. This includes the enclosure of the arcade or loggia to provide additional seating space in the Living Room and to provide a new entrance into the building. The new entrance includes a vestibule to mitigate drafts. Linked to this idea, is the closure of all but the central entrance on the north portico of the building to further mitigate drafts. The aim is to redirect pedestrian flow into the building to the reconfigured logia entrance. Other changes include the relocation the Café 77 seating area to the existing Living Room, and the conversion of the existing café seating area into a grab-and-go operation. The Living Room, in turn, is envisioned as a tea room-style casual dining and social space.

Second Level

Existing administrative uses on the Second Level will be relocated to the Third Level where the student organization spaces currently are located. The idea is to flip these uses with the goal of moving student focused spaces lower down in the building. With the proposed moves, the Second Level is reimagined as the Inclusion and Engagement Center, a space central to the University’s goal of serving a more diverse student population. Specific uses proposed for the Second Level include:

  • Inclusion and Engagement Center and six associated offices
  • Informal seating areas
  • The Sacred Space for meditation and prayer
  • Student Organization multipurpose space and storage areas
  • The FLIP food pantry

Other changes to the second level take advantage of the roofs of the dining additions below on the Marketplace Level. New outdoor social terraces are proposed facing Woods Creek offering outdoor programming and engagement areas.

Third Level

The third level will be repurposed to accommodate the Student Affairs Administrative offices and the Student Judicial Council room and associated office space. Additional office space is provided by expanding the mezzanine level within the existing double height space. Renovations also are proposed to the Career Development Office to include additional interview rooms.

Washington and Lee Entrance

The master plan calls for the creation of a new entrance at the intersection of Washington Street and Lee Avenue where two new public-facing facilities are proposed: the Admission and Financial Center and the Institutional Museum. Both facilities are planned as visitor destinations and, as such, will generate new parking demand. In response, a new parking deck on Lee Avenue is proposed to accommodate this demand as well as the demand generated in the adjacent Front Campus area.

Institutional History Museum

It is planned for campus visitors and will take full advantage of the educational potential of the campus to teach history.

The vision, mission and themes addressed in the museum will be the focus of future planning initiatives. For the purposes of planning, a 23,000 gsf museum is assumed. As noted, it is planned on the street level of the proposed Lee Avenue Parking Deck on the site of the existing Chavis House and Casa Hispania both of which will be demolished (both groups will be relocated to other university-owned houses prior to demolition). The adjacent Mattingly House may become part of the Museum pending future architectural programming and design studies. In addition to fixed and rotating museum exhibit and gallery space, special collections, functions and dedicated storage, as well as academic classroom and lab space, are planned for the museum along with a museum store.

The conceptual design for the museum illustrates a three-story building coordinated with the parking deck. The intent is to provide a building in scale with the surrounding context, notably, the proposed Admission and Financial Center planned for northwest corner of Lee and Washington on the current site of the Early-Fielding University Center.

Parking Deck

A parking deck is planned on Lee Avenue to support expanded parking needs associated with the Admission and Financial Center and the Institutional Museum. It is proposed on the current site of the Chavis and Casa Hispanica houses as well as the adjacent land areas. The 200-250-vehicle facility includes three levels of parking taking advantage of the topographic conditions south of Lee Ave. Levels 1 and 2 are constructed below street level with the third level at street level with three sides remaining open for ventilation. The proposed Institutional Museum will be located on the top level of the deck.

Admission and Financial Center

The conceptual design is coordinated with the master plan and the proposed Lee Avenue Entrance.

It encompasses approximately 28,600 gross square feet. To accommodate this new structure, Early Fielding will be demolished while maintaining the adjacent Evans Hall. The design reflects the brick classical revival architecture of the Front Campus including elaborate trim, wood columns, and portico entrances. The building interiors are envisioned to be more contemporary to facilitate assembly and hospitality functions. The east portion of the building at Lee Avenue houses welcome, meeting, and assembly functions, and the portion along Washington Street houses the Admission and Financial Aid programs.

The design establishes the physical expression of a new campus entrance feature at the intersection of Washington and Lee in the form of an iconic, rounded formal entry feature. This iconic entry, the associated site work and streetscape for the area, are intended to serve as a visual statement of arrival into the Washington and Lee campus.

McLaughlin Street District

The McLaughlin Street District includes the Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts and Wilson Hall, along with several existing residential units owned by the University. The District is reimagined to support the Performing Arts and Museum programs. The vision includes an expansion of Wilson Hall.

The idea is to add to Wilson Hall in a way that contributes to the streetscape and to redevelop the existing housing in the land area defined by Nelson Street on the east, Glasgow Street on the north and McLaughlin Street on the west and south.

Wilson Hall

Two rehearsal spaces and associated storage space are proposed. Each rehearsal space will seat 70 musicians and each will address acoustical and performance criteria. The master plan illustrates an addition to the McLaughlin / Glasgow Street side of Wilson Hall with the rehearsal spaces at street level and supplemental large equipment storage located on the belowgrade lower level.

Features of the expansion include a double height circulation corridor and light well along the south side of the existing Wilson Hall facade. The light well ensures that access to natural light is maintained in the offices and practice rooms in Wilson Hall. The concept also features a new south entrance to Wilson Hall positioned to connect with the existing circulation patterns and elevator of the building as well as to provide access to the proposed corridor leading to the new rehearsal halls.

Vertical ballet and dance events will be relocated to another venue within the central campus.

At the site planning level, the addition requires modifications to the existing curb line on McLaughlin / Glasgow Street. Specifically, the existing layby is removed in order to accommodate the addition and to relocate the sidewalk.

The program for the building is as follows:

Wilson Hall Addition Program:

Program ElementASF (each)CountASF (total)
Orchestra Rehearsal 2263 1 2263
Choir Rehearsal 1621 1 1621
Orchestra Storage 207 1 207
Choir Storage 211 1 211
Conditioned Storage 1902 1 1902
Lobby/Entrance 720 1 720
Circulation 795 1 795
Total 7719

Back Campus Area

The Back Campus is a mixed-use area encompassing new facilities constructed over the past 30 years and longer. Primarily an area for the sports and recreation facilities, the Back Campus includes the Duchossois Tennis Center (1997, 4 indoor courts), the Natatorium (2017) and the Student Activities Pavilion as well as several sports fields including New Wilson Field (2008, football & track), W&L Turf Field (2000, field hockey; alternative practice for soccer, football and lacrosse), Alston Parker Watt Turf Field (2003, men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse), Cap’n Dick Smith Baseball Field (1999), Liberty Hall Field (1988/2015) Miller Field, Fuge Field (2015) and outdoor tennis courts (12).

The Back Campus also includes the Village residential complex consisting of Liberty Hall Common and Augusta Square, recently constructed residential buildings for third year students. Six sorority houses are located in Back Campus as well: Alpha Delta Pi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Society, Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Chi Omega. Lewis Hall, home of School of Law, is also located in the North Campus area. Other uses include the University Facilities and Maintenance complex, the Anthropology Lab, Bellfield House (guest house), Castle House and the Liberty Hall ruins, the original home of the institution.

The land use pattern of the Back Campus area is informed by the northsouth orientation of the Wilson Field and the tennis courts, which were the first facilities developed. Subsequent facilities followed other organizing principles. Overall, the Back Campus lacks the type of clear organizational structure and concept that makes the Front Campus a memorable place.

Planning Vision

Given the size, scale, mix of uses and timeline of construction, the Back Campus lacks the iconic clarity of the historic campus buildings and landscapes. A goal of the master plan is to address this lack of clarity by overlaying a mix of enhanced circulation and landscape corridors designed to link the existing facilities to the established academic core of the Front Campus. The Woods Creek Green Link is extended northward into the district to provide a clear route back to the central campus. The Green Link includes new ramps at East Denny Circle, near Lewis Hall, designed to transition the steep grades. The continuation of the Link includes the proposed Woods Creek pedestrian bridge and connections to the Leyburn Library. Within the Back Campus, the Link is coordinated with existing pedestrian routes and major landscapes to provide structure and clarity to this district. Known as the Back Campus Fitness Loop, this proposed landscape and circulation corridor is envisioned to organize existing development, patterns of movement and wayfinding. Programmatically, it is intended to offer an organized route for jogging and potentially bicycling.

In addition to the circulation and landscape strategy, the master plan includes new sports and housing facilities in the Back Campus.

Softball Complex

At the site planning level, the Softball Complex is coordinated with the existing baseball field and positioned such that a common pedestrian access route extends along the berm located on the left field line of baseball and the right field line of softball. This pedestrian route provides access to spectator seating on the berm in both complexes. A 50 space parking lot is proposed to serve both softball and baseball.

Conceptual site and grading plans are provided in the master plan indicating the cut and fill strategy for constructing the Softball Complex. As indicated in the site sections, cut and fill are relatively balanced. The proposed site plan also indicates a realignment of the adjacent access road in order to make way for the field.

Housing Sites

The first is located south of the W&L Turf Field on Augusta Square, and is conceptually an extension of the existing Augusta Square Complex (A). It includes four Augusta Square type residential buildings. The second site is located to northeast of Lewis Hall, east of East Denny Circle (B). This potential site accommodates four Liberty Hall type residential buildings. Both sites are provided as options along with the McLaughlin Street District and will be evaluated as part of future planning for new housing.

Master Plan Frameworks

The master plan establishes a comprehensive and coordinated vision for incremental change over the next five-to-ten years. The vision is structured by the physical frameworks of the campus— frameworks defined by buildings, topography, hydrological patterns, natural areas, formal landscapes and circulation networks. Collectively, these frameworks structure the campus environment and the campus experience.

Land Use Framework

The land use pattern consists of four major zones. The first is defined by the Front Campus located on the periphery of downtown Lexington and west of the Virginia Military Institute campus. This is the most developed and culturally significant area of the campus. The second zone is defined by Woods Creek which crosses the campus in an east-west direction. Formerly viewed as the back of the campus, it now lies at the center of the land use pattern. The third zone includes the north or Back Campus, a mixed-use area that includes major athletics and recreation fields, sport facilities, housing, the Law School Building and a variety of support and maintenance structures. The fourth zone includes the agricultural and wooded areas of the campus. The wooded area totals 217 acres of land primarily adjacent to the Maury River. The agricultural land includes the 90-acre Penial Farm with an easement encompassing 68.9 acres. The easement is held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and restricts any land use other than agriculture, preservation of open space, and conservation.

No rare, threatened or endangered species or environmentally sensitive areas have been identified on campus lands in assessments conducted by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. The Maury River is home to two federally endangered species of mussels (the James spiny mussel and the Dwarf Wedge mussel), one federally endangered species of plant (Shale barren rock cress); two threatened species (the Madison Cave Isopod and Virginia Sneezeweed)

Landscape Framework

The following summarizes the landscape recommendations associated with each of the big ideas:

Reinforce the campus core
The landscape framework acknowledges the value of the Front Campus to the character and identity of the university by calling for the preservation and enhancement of the front lawn and its associated landscape.

Realign campus art and memory in the public realm
The landscape framework addresses the expressed desire to offer additional places for art in the public realm of the campus. The idea is to provide opportunities to celebrate individuals that have contributed to the development of the university— individuals beyond the namesakes. To that end, the landscape framework recommends that potential locations for public art and memorial sites be considered These may include major points in the existing and proposed organizational structure of the campus including either end of Stemmons Plaza, at the Lenfest Center, and in the proposed entrance at Washington Street and Lee Avenue and along the proposed Woods Creek Green Link. This aspect of the framework requires further study and will be addressed in the future institutional museum planning process.

Embrace Woods Creek as a campus amenity
The landscape framework integrates Woods Creek as a central organizing feature of the campus. Stronger connections to the Creek are proposed in the Woods Creek Green Link, the proposed landscape corridor extending from Stemmons Plaza northward across Woods Creek and into the north campus area. In addition, stronger connections are proposed to the existing trail network along the creek and opportunities are identified for outdoor classrooms and learning environments.

Develop connections to downtown Lexington and the Back Campus
Connections to downtown Lexington and to the Back Campus are reinforced in the landscape framework in several ways. The new entrance at the intersection of Washington and Lee, along with the proposed Admission and Financial Center and the Institutional Museum, are intended to establish a new entrance to the campus and connection to downtown. The Woods Creek Green Link is designed to provide stronger connections between the Front Campus and Back Campus.

Foster enhanced, efficient and accessible mobility
The landscape framework responds to mobility objectives by offering a new streetscape along Washington Street and Lee Avenue and by means of the Woods Creek Green Link. More broadly, enhanced crosswalks and improvements to the fitness loop across campus are recommended.

Celebrate diversity and inclusion through a parity of student life amenities
This big idea is addressed in the campus landscape by identifying additional places in the landscape to commemorate and celebrate the many people who have contributed to the campus and the development of the university.

Landscape Framework and Existing Conditions

The Washington and Lee landscape framework is structured further by the topographical, hydrological, and vegetation patterns of the campus as well as the formal landscapes and open spaces. The landscape features follow four east-to-west “layers”:

  1. the Front Campus;
  2. Stemmons Plaza;
  3. Woods Creek; and,
  4. the north or Back Campus.
The Front Campus

The Front Campus, defined by the iconic Colonnade and the foreground residential buildings, serves as the backdrop for the sloping lawn that forms one of the most memorable areas of the campus landscape. The Colonnade buildings occupy the highpoint of the campus, with newer buildings transitioning downhill to the south and west. The Front Lawn, the Colonnade and the University Chapel are synonymous with the character and identity of the University and collectively form the National Historic Landmark District designated in 1972. The master plan preserves and promotes the continued upkeep of the Front Lawn as the foreground to the Colonnade.

Stemmons Plaza 

Stemmons Plaza runs behind and parallel to the Colonnade and is central to the day-to-day activities of the campus. Defined by brick pathways and a central lawn area, Stemmons Plaza connects major academic and support facilities and serves as the primary pedestrian corridor through the campus. The Plaza is defined architecturally by the rear facades of the Colonnade and major academic buildings including the Leyburn Library, and the Science Center. It is terminated by the Huntley Hall on the west and the Ruscio Center for Global Learning on the east. Recent investments in the Stemmons Plaza area have improved pedestrian connectivity, accessibility and circulation. The master plan proposes no major changes to the Plaza itself but does identify opportunities for a new outdoor classrooms south of the Ruscio Center and west of Huntley. The Woods Creek Green Link is designed to connect the Plaza to Woods Creek and beyond to the Back Campus.

Cohen Family Amphitheater

Located between Leyburn Library and the Elrod Commons, the Cohen Family Amphitheater offers a place for outdoor events and activities. Recommendations include the introduction of a formal stage area with power and audio connections. Trees are also proposed on the seating tiers to provide shade during the spring and summer months.

Cannan Green

Located between Elrod Commons and the Doremus Gymnasium, Cannan Green is an informal green space used for a variety of passive and organized activities. No changes are proposed in the master plan.

Woods Creek

Historically, viewed as the “back” of the campus, Woods Creek is the most significant natural feature at Washington and Lee. The considerable elevation change from Stemmons Plaza down to the Creek separates it from the Front and Back Campus areas. In response, the master plan reimagines the Creek as a central organizing feature of the landscape. The Creek is acknowledged in the master plan for: the ecosystem services it provides; the educational opportunities it offers, especially for the environmental studies programs; and, the passive recreation opportunities associated with the existing trails.

The master plan examines the topographic conditions along Woods Creek with the goal of determining appropriate strategies for improving the trail network, providing connections to the higher elevations, and identifying opportunities for new bridge connections. This analysis informed the overall “big idea” for the creek and the key recommendations. Notably, the “big ideas” of more fully integrating the Creek into the formal landscape structure of the campus by means of new landscape connections and facilities. Specifically, the following is proposed:

Woods Creek Green Link

A new landscape corridor is proposed between Leyburn Library and the Science Center to reinforce the connection between Stemmons Plaza and Woods Creek. Known as the Woods Creek Green Link, this landscape is associated with the addition to the Science Center and the removal of the existing Development Office Building at the lower elevation. The intent is to create a stronger physical and visual connection between Stemmons Plaza and the Creek and to integrate the Creek into the daily pattern of campus life. It also is intended to enhance the pedestrian routes that connect the historic Front Campus to the expansion areas in the Back Campus to the north.

The vision for the Woods Creek Link features new pathways and ramps designed to transition some of the steep slope conditions between the library and Science Center. It includes a new lawn and gathering area known as the "Oval" at the lower level on the site of the current Development Office. The Oval is designed to provide an area for outdoor gathering and learning in close proximity to the Creek. At the broader campus level, the Green Link reinforces the pedestrian connections between Stemmons Plaza, the Woods Creek Apartments, the Law School and the Village Housing located north of Woods Creek. It is coordinated with a new pedestrian bridge over Woods Creek and switch back ramps north of East Denny Circle designed to transition the slope up to the Law School.

Dell Outdoor Classroom

An outdoor classroom is proposed north of the Leyburn Library for use by courses that utilize the creek for inspirational, educational or research purposes. The proposed design is integrated and coordinated with the recommendations of the master plan. It includes amphitheater style seating, a paved area for gathering and a small shed with power and communication connections.

Back Campus Fitness Loop

The master plan includes a new landscape corridor or loop around the Back Campus designed to tie together existing pedestrian circulation routes, housing, athletics and recreation facilities. The loop is envisioned as an extension of the Woods Creek Green Link and is intended to improve wayfinding and the overall landscape structure of the north campus area. Additional tree planting, lighting, benches, signage and other site furnishings are proposed along the loop. It is envisioned as a running and fitness trail including fitness stations and other opportunities for exercise. Overall it is viewed as an “overlay” concept for integrating the facilities and activities of the Back Campus more effectively with the strong organizational structure of the Front Campus. Pending further study, it may be possible to include bicycle circulation routes and addresses accessibility challenges.

Campus Entrances

The main entrance to the Front Campus is well defined at the Memorial Gate, located at the intersection of Jefferson and Henry Streets. The master plan identifies opportunities for improving the landscape, signage and signage elements associated with other campus entrances.

A key initiative is to establish a cultural district in the area of the Washington Street and Lee Avenue intersection. It is here that two public-facing facilities are proposed: the Admission and Financial Center, and the Institutional History Museum.

Other public entrances identified for landscape, wayfinding and signage improvements include:

  • The Arts Entrance at the intersection of East Denny Circle where the Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts and the Parking Garage are located; and,
  • The Athletics Entrance at the intersection of US 60 West and West Denny Circle where access to the major athletic fields and venues is provided.

Mobility Framework


Accessibility at the campus and site level is reinforced in the master plan, building upon a campus wide assessment conducted by KMA Architecture and Accessibility and coordinated with the recommendations of the master plan, including proposed facilities. The accessibility study examines existing challenges and provides recommendations for improvement. To that end, the master plan identifies areas where improvements are needed to remove barriers and to complete circulation routes.

Pathway Network

To facilitate pedestrian and accessible movement, enhancements and extensions to the pathway network are proposed to connect the established historic core Front Campus with the areas north of Woods Creek. The goal over time is to design an inclusive pathway network accommodating both pedestrians and the mobility impaired.

The most significant proposed improvement is associated with an enhanced north-south route connecting Stemmons Plaza and the Village in the north campus area. Known as the Woods Creek Green Link, this route includes new pathways and ramps between the Leyburn Library and the Science Center, a new pedestrian bridge over Woods Creek, and new switch-back ramps transitioning the slope from East Denny Circle to the Law School building. In the north campus area, the Green Link ties into the proposed Back Campus Fitness Loop. This enhanced route is intended to facilitate observed patterns of movement and to create an accessible route over the long term. Ultimately, it will link the expansion areas north of Woods Creek with the academic core of the campus. Circulation enhancements to the route are coordinated with landscape improvements to ensure that it emerges as a major landscape corridor through the campus.

Woods Creek Bridge

A new accessible pedestrian bridge is proposed over Woods Creek to provide a more direct connection to the lower level of the Leyburn Library, where an enhanced entrance and lobby are proposed. The new bridge is intended to redirect pedestrian traffic away from the existing narrow vehicular bridge on Generals Lane. It is located to provide an alternative to the Wilson Field Bridge by directly linking the Village Housing area more directly with the academic buildings in the Front Campus. The Bridge is aligned with the lower level Leyburn Library entrance, an entrance utilized by many residents who live north of the Creek. The bridge design is coordinated with the enhanced entrance to the library to facilitate patterns of movement already underway. It also is designed to connect the bridge level to the elevators in the Leyburn Library as part of the overall strategy to enhance movement for those with mobility impairments and to enhance observed patterns of movement.

Bicycle Network

The master plan updates the bicycle network to coordinate on-campus routes with those of the city. Internal campus routes are limited to one east-west route connecting Letcher Avenue on the east with Washington Street on the west. This route moves through campus at the base of the Front Lawn, passing directly in front of the University Chapel. The majority of the Front Campus and Stemmons Plaza is viewed as a bicycle dismount zone in the interest of pedestrians. One north-south connection exists along the challenging topography of Generals Lane connecting Letcher Avenue to East Denny Circle.

Pending further study, a new north-south route could be integrated into the Woods Creek Green Link and its continuation the Back Campus Fitness Loop. The idea would be to connect from the proposed Woods Creek Bridge northward up the switch-back ramps at East Denny Circle to the Law Building and northward to the Back Campus Fitness Loop. This would require a study of the pathway width and other conditions on the proposed route.

Vehicular Network

The master plan reinforces the existing vehicular routes of the campus and with the exception of Washington Street. On Washington Street, two options are considered: one way northbound or two way. One way is the University’s preference, but this is subject to future discussions with the City of Lexington. In this option, the streetscape is narrowed and new raised crosswalks are proposed northward from the intersection of Washington and Lee. The existing raised crosswalk at the Baker-Davis is maintained. If two-way circulation is maintained, changes to the street section and crosswalks are generally the same as in the one-way option.


Parking on Front Campus is concentrated in the Parking Garage located at the southeast corner of Nelson Street and East Denny Circle. This facility strategically is positioned to intercept traffic at the periphery of the campus and is located to serve the Front Campus and the Lenfest Performing Arts Center. Other interstitial parking areas are provided in the Front Campus area along with visitor parking at the Memorial Gate located at the intersection of Jefferson and Henry Streets. Parking in the Back Campus is scattered and located adjacent to the key buildings and athletics-recreation fields.

The master plan identifies a second parking garage location on Lee Avenue on and adjacent to the existing Chavis House and Casa Hispanica sites. This garage is integrated with the slope condition as it drops downward to the south from the Lee Avenue elevation. Conceptual designs for the garage place it below street level with three sides remaining open as a result of the topographic conditions. The Institutional History Museum is proposed on the top level of the garage.

Academic Framework

The academic facilities at Washington and Lee are concentrated in the Front Campus along the Colonnade, and Stemmons Plaza with a few outliers. The following summarizes the key academic buildings according to the area of the campus in which they are located. It also summarizes the changes or interventions proposed for each building as part of the master plan.

The Colonnade Academic Buildings

The Colonnade is designed in the Greek revival style as interpreted by the original builder-architect, John Jordan. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972, the Colonnade includes five buildings: Washington Hall (1824), Payne Hall (1830), Chavis Hall (1841), Newcomb Hall (1884) and Tucker Hall (1935). The Colonnade underwent renovation over the past decade restoring this important landmark collection of buildings for 21st century learning needs.

  • Washington Hall, the central and the first building of the campus was constructed in 1824 in the Greek revival style, modeled in part on Thomas Jefferson’s design for the Virginia Capitol in Richmond. A comprehensive renovation was completed in 2011 to accommodate administrative offices, the President’s Office and the Philosophy Department.
  • Payne Hall, built in 1830, was originally known as the Lyceum. The building was renamed in 1936 for Judge Barton Payne, a major contributor to the renovation at that time. Following the 2011 renovation, the building is now home to the English Department and the Medieval Renaissance Studies program.
  • Chavis Hall, constructed in 1841 was originally constructed as a dormitory and originally named for John Robinson, who helped found the academy in 1803. In 2018, the building was renamed for John Chavis, the first African American to receive a college education in the United States. Mr. Chavis (c. 1763–June 15, 1838) was first enrolled at the College of New Jersey (Princeton) and finished his studies at Liberty Hall Academy (Washington and Lee University). Renovations to Chavis were completed in 2014 to accommodate the Mathematics Department.
  • Newcomb Hall, built in 1884 and renovated in 2010, was a gift from the Newcomb Family who also founded Newcomb College in New Orleans (Tulane). It currently houses the Teacher Education, Sociology and Anthropology, East Asian Studies and the History Departments.
  • Tucker Hall is the home to the Romance Language, Classics and Religion Departments. Originally a stone gothic building housing the first incarnation of the Law School, Tucker was rebuilt in the Greek revival style in 1935 following a major fire. It is named for Henry St. George Tucker, a former acting president and instructor of law at Washington and Lee.

Stemmons Plaza Academic Buildings

Stemmons Plaza parallels the north side of the Colonnade buildings. This important open space connects and organizes the most active area of the Front Campus. Academic buildings along and peripheral to the Plaza include the following:

  • Reid Hall, renovated in 2002, is home to the Journalism and Mass Communications Department. The Washington and Lee journalism program was the first in the country when established in 1860.
  • Huntley Hall defines the west end of Stemmons Plaza and is the home to the Ernest Williams II, School of Commerce, Economics and Politics. A major renovation of Huntley is planned along with a new sister facility on the current site of Baker-Davis on Washington Street.
  • Holekamp Hall, renovated in 2007, accommodates offices, classrooms and lab spaces utilized by the Williams School. A new range of uses will be considered following the completion of the Huntley renovation and the construction of the new Williams School building on Washington Street.
  • The Science Center consists of Parmly Hall, Howe Hall and a 1991 addition joining the two buildings. The Science Center accommodates biology, chemistry / biochemistry, computer science, geology, physics/engineering, psychology / cognitive and behavioral sciences, environmental studies and neuroscience. It is home to the Telford Science Library and the associated Integrative and Quantitative (IQ) Center, a teaching and research suite. The IQ Center is designed to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration problem-solving and creativity by making new technologies broadly available.
  • The Ruscio Center for Global Learning is located in the renovated and expanded DuPont Hall on the east end of Stemmons Plaza. Designed for new forms of engagement and active learning, the facility houses the Center for International Education, Arabic Language and Literature, the Departments of German and Russian and East Asian Languages and Literature.
  • Leyburn Library is the main library for the university named in memory of James Graham Leyburn (1902-1993), a teacher, scholar, administrator and author. Designed by the firm of Marcellus, Cox & Wright, this 130,000 square foot building opened in 1979 and is typical of libraries of that time: large floorplates with limited natural internal light. The building itself transitions the steep slope conditions north of Stemmons Plaza leading down towards Woods Creek. Partial renovation of the building is explored in the master plan to accommodate the Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence (Harte Center), a proposed state-of-the-art Teaching and Learning Center project.

Other Academic Buildings

Beyond the Colonnade and Stemmons Plaza, outlying academic facilities include the Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts, Wilson Hall and Lewis Hall. Lenfest and Wilson are located to the west of the Front Campus and are sited along Woods Creek. Lewis Hall is located north of Woods Creek and Denny Circle.

  • The Lenfest Center opened in 1991 and is home to the theatre, music theatre, opera, choral and band music, dance and performance programs. It includes the 421 seat Keller Theatre and the Johnson Theatre.
  • Wilson Hall houses the Music and Arts programs. It includes the 300 seat Wilson Concert Hall, music practice rooms and studios for welding, ceramics, photography, painting and sculpture. An expansion of Wilson Hall is explored in the master plan to provide choral and orchestra rehearsal space.
  • Sydney Lewis Hall opened in 1976 as the home of the School of Law and the Law Library. It was expanded in 1992 to accommodate the papers of US Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Junior, alumnus of the College (1929) and the School of Law (1931).

Campus Life

The Campus Life Framework is composed of the gathering, dining, living and recreation facilities that contribute to the Washington and Lee experience and overall quality of life on the campus.

Major campus life facilities include the Elrod Commons, campus housing, Doremus Gymnasium (recreation center), the athletics and recreation facilities and a number of support services and functions distributed across the campus.

Dining Locations

Several dining facilities are provided across the campus in response to the distributed nature of the campus population. Existing dining locations include:

  • The Marketplace is the campus all-you-care-to-eat dining facility
  • Café 77 – grab and go café in Elrod Commons
  • Fieldside restaurant in the Village featuring Foodside and a coffee house & pub called Fireside.
  • E-Café a kosher style restaurant located in the Hillel House
  • Tea House in the Ruscio Center for Global Learning
  • The Brief Stop – in Lewis Hall law building

Each is maintained in the master plan with a major expansion and renovation planned for the Marketplace located in the Elrod Commons. The expansion provides additional seating capacity and addresses several operational needs.

Student Health Center

The existing Student Health Center is located on the lower level of Davis Hall. A new Health Center is planned as part of a broader strategy to provide new and expanded facilities for the Williams School. Specifically, the new facility is recommended on the lower level of the satellite faculty office and classroom building facility planned for the Williams School. The new center will include the health center, counseling and the Office of Health Promotion.

Campus Housing

Washington and Lee provides a variety of housing options to accommodate students during their first three years at the University. Traditional residence halls are provided on the Front Campus for first year students with apartment style housing located in the Back Campus along with sorority housing. Fraternity housing is located on the periphery of the campus in the downtown area of Lexington. The master plan maintains all existing housing and provides options for accommodating approximately 100 additional beds for upper division students. Two potential housing sites are indicated in the master plan.

First Year Housing

Two first year residence halls are provided in the Front Campus: Graham-Lees and Gaines Halls. No major changes are proposed for either hall as part of the master plan.

  • Graham-Lees is the oldest residential building on campus comprised of two earlier dorms, Graham and Lees, which were linked to create the current configuration for first-year students. The building underwent renovation in 2014-2015 and includes traditional single, double and triple rooms. This four story structure houses 234 students.
  • Gaines Hall underwent renovation in 2013-2014 and houses 265 students in a combination of singles, doubles and triples.
Upper-Division Housing

A variety of housing types, including traditional residence halls, apartments, townhouses, Greek and themed housing units, are available for sophomores and juniors who are required to live on campus. Seniors typically live off-campus, however, the goal is to provide additional housing on campus. To that end, two potential housing sites are identified in the master plan for accommodating upper division students (juniors and seniors).

The following summarizes the existing Upper Division housing areas of the campus.

  • The Village - Located in the north or Back Campus, the Village consists of Augusta Square and Liberty Hall Common. Combined, these facilities accommodate 146 residents in townhouses and 192 residents in apartments. Augusta Square consists of four apartment and three townhouse buildings. Two of the apartment buildings include community spaces, a restaurant, pub, fitness center, living room, study room, and a courtyard. Liberty Hall Common includes a central open space defined by five apartment buildings and five townhouse buildings.
  • Woods Creek Apartments East Denny Circle - The Woods Creek Apartments, located north of Woods Creek on East Denny Circle, consists of three recently renovated apartment buildings originally constructed in the 1970s. The renovated facilities accommodate 178 residents.
  • Future Upper Division Housing - The master plan identifies two potential sites for future upper division housing. The sites are presented as options pending further study and determination of which site best aligns with the needs of the population groups to be accommodated. The sites include: Augusta Square extension, and east Denny Circle. Specific details for each site are provided in the Capital Projects section of the report.
Greek Organization Housing

The University owns a number of Greek organization houses located in the downtown area of Lexington and in the Back Campus. Approximately, 75 percent of the student population belongs to a Greek organization. Each organization is responsible for filling the available beds in their respective houses and for operating their own dining services. The existing fraternity and sorority houses are maintained in the master plan with no major changes proposed.

Fraternity Houses

The Fraternity houses are concentrated in two main clusters:

  1. Henry Street – just south of the Memorial Gate; and,
  2. in a block defined by East Nelson and East Washington Street (Davidson Site), south of the Front Campus.

One outlier, the Phi Gamma Delta House, is located on West Preston Street.

Henry Street / N. Main Street

  • Chi Psi House, 5 Lee Avenue
  • Phi Zeta Delta House, 5 Henry Street
  • Sigma Nu House, 4 Henry Street
  • Pi Kappa Alpha House, 106 N Main Street

Davidson Site

  • Kappa Alpha Order House, 300 E Nelson Street
  • Kappa Sigma House, 220 E Nelson Street
  • Sigma Chi House, 216 E Nelson Street
  • Lambda Chi Alpha House, 225 E Nelson Street
  • Phi Kappa Psi House, 301 E Washington Street
  • Pi Kappa Phi House, 201 E Washington Street
  • Phi Gamma Delta House, 112 W Preston Street
Sorority Houses

The Sorority Houses are located in the Back Campus along Frank Parsons Way. These identical townhouse type units include:

  • Alpha Delta Pi, 12 Frank Parsons Way
  • Chi Omega, 2 Frank Parsons Way
  • Kappa Alpha Theta, 4 Frank Parsons Way
  • Delta Society, 8 Frank Parsons Way
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma, 10 Frank Parsons Way
  • Pi Beta Phi, 6 Frank Parsons Way
Theme Housing

The University also owns a number of theme houses on the periphery of the Front Campus in the downtown area of Lexington. With the exception of Casa Hispanica and Chavis House, all of the existing houses are maintained in the master plan. Casa Hispanica and Chavis House are located on the site of the proposed Institutional History Museum. These theme communities will be relocated prior to demolition.

  • ARC (Arts, Recreation and Culture) House, 205 E Washington Street
    Residents: 17
  • Casa Hispanica, 4 Lee Avenue
    Residents: 9
  • Chavis House, 10 Lee Avenue
    Residents: 5
  • Exploratory House, 101 N Jefferson Street
    Residents: 17
  • Global Service House, 106 Lee Avenue
    Residents: 18
  • Nuestro Hogar Latino
    Residents: 3
  • Outing Club House, 203 East Washington Street
    Residents: 6
  • Sankofa House, 11 N Jefferson Street
    Residents: 27
  • Sustainability House, 218 E Nelson Street
    Residents: 16
  • Washingtonian House, 19 University Place
    Residents: 5
Housing Summary

Total Bed:

Bed TypeCount
First- Year 499
Upper Division 516
Sorority 138
Fraternity 202
Theme Housing 105

1,481 Total Beds

Total Occupancy:

Bed TypeOccupancy NumberPercent Occupied
First-Year 490 98.2%
Upper Division 462 89.5%
Sorority 136 98.6%
Fraternity 189 93.6%
Theme Housing 87 82.9%

1,364 Total Beds Occupied (92.1%)

Athletics and Recreation Framework

Washington and Lee’s athletics teams compete in NCAA Division III in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and the Centennial Conference for wrestling. The men’s teams include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field, and wrestling. The women’s teams include basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, riding, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field, and volleyball.

The campus offers several athletics and recreation facilities including the Duchossois Athletics and Recreation Center, Doremus Gymnasium and several facilities in the Back Campus area. These include the Duchossois Tennis Center (1997, 4 indoor courts), the Natatorium (2017) and the Student Activities Pavilion as well as several sports fields including New Wilson Field (2008, football & track), W&L Turf Field (2000, field hockey; alternative practice for soccer, football and lacrosse), Alston Parker Watt Turf Field (2003, men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse), Cap’n Dick Smith Baseball Field (1999), Liberty Hall Field (1988/2015) Miller Field, Fuge Field (2015) and outdoor tennis courts (12).

A new softball field is included in the master plan directly adjacent to the Cap’n Dick Smith Baseball Field. Details for the proposed field are provided in the Capital Projects section of this report.

Sustainability Recommendations

The Washington and Lee master plan includes recommendations and strategies to assist the University in achieving the sustainability goals of the 2018 Climate Action Plan:

  • Create visible and meaningful methods of showcasing campus sustainability through facility design, active outreach and education programs, and ecologically progressive management of campus grounds and resources.
  • Achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 through conservation and waste reduction, high-efficiency facility and fixture design and operation, and the development of renewable energy sources.
  • Reduce on-campus water use through conservation and waste reduction, high-efficiency facility and fixture design and operation, and sustainable stormwater management.
  • Pursue excellence in green design by requiring new construction and significant renovations to obtain LEED Silver certification or higher.
  • Reduce campus material waste by 20% MTCDE by 2028 through sustainable purchasing policies and formalized institutional recycling.
  • Measure and manage transportation-related emissions through fleet selection and operation, University-sponsored travel reduction, and increased non-auto commute mode-share.

The master plan supports these goals by focusing on the environmental dimensions of sustainability reinforcing the social, economic, and curriculum objectives of broader planning initiatives underway at Washington and Lee. Specifically, the plan addresses the following aspects of the campus environment:

  1. Land Resources – the plan maintains the natural systems of the campus in order to protect habitat areas and promote an appreciation of important campus assets, such as Woods Creek and the 217 acres of campus woodlands.
  2. Landscape – the plan promotes a working landscape and stronger connectivity to the formal landscapes and the natural features of the campus.
  3. Water Resources – the plan protects the Maury River watershed by encouraging progressive stormwater management strategies and best management practices (bmps).
  4. Energy and Emissions – the plan supports the energy management and climate neutrality goals of the University by recommending robust Energy Use Intensity (EUI) targets tailored to each of the capital improvement projects, in addition to the adopted LEED policies. It also recommends building integrated solar on existing and proposed facilities with large flat roofs. Passive house or Net Zero construction is recommended for the new campus housing.
  5. Mobility – the circulation network improvements are enhanced to promote walking and greater accessibility for all individuals. This also promotes health and wellness goals by encouraging exercise.

Land Resources

The woodlands and creeks of the campus provide a number of ecosystem services which the master plan aims to protect by locating development in previously disturbed areas.

The Woods Creek Green Link is designed to provide stronger connections from the developed areas of the campus to the natural areas, notably the Woods Creek Corridor. Over time, the interpretive signage and educational information would enhance the Creek trail network.

The University also owns a 90-acre farm on the far north of the campus land holdings with a 68.9 acre easement held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. The easement limits land use to agriculture, preservation of open space, and conservation.


The master plan provides recommendations for establishing a working landscape on the campus.

A landscape that:

  • assists in managing rainwater by incorporating a variety of best management practices including green roofs, rain gardens, and bio-swales among others;
  • provides shade along pedestrian routes and in gathering areas such as the amphitheater; and,
  • incorporates shade trees along building facades subject to excessive heat gain (east and west facades).

The landscape recommendations also are intended to provide stronger connections to the natural systems of the campus as a way to enhance education and recreation opportunities as well as a general appreciation of the campus ecosystem.

Water Resources

The landscape, circulation and urban design structure of the master plan collectively support the goal of protecting the water resources by:

  • converting hardscape to softscape where possible with a goal of decreasing impervious area. Notable examples include the Woods Creek Green Link landscape (area between the Leyburn Library and the Science Center);
  • locating a majority of proposed buildings on previously developed sites; and,
  • utilizing stormwater bmps such as green roofs, rain gardens, bioswales and other strategies to reduce runoff, to slow down the rate of flow, and to improve water quality. The use of bmps is recommended for all landscape, renovation and new construction projects including the new housing, the Woods Creek Green Link, Science Center, Wilson Hall, the Museum and Parking Garage and the Softball Field.


The recommendations of the master plan are intended to promote a walkable and accessible campus with the goal of decreasing reliance on auto use, especially for movement within the core of the campus.

To that end, the master plan includes recommendations for addressing pedestrian and accessibility challenges associated with some of the steep slopes and stairs on the campus. The intent is to improve the experience of moving across and through the campus thereby making walking a more positive experience while promoting health and wellbeing objectives.

The most significant recommendation includes a new bridge spanning Woods Creek on the east side of campus. The bridge is planned to link the lowest level of the Leyburn Library (Level 4) with the Woods Creek Apartments on the north side. The goal is to provide a more convenient and accessible link from the third year housing area and Law School to the core of campus. The bridge is part of a larger strategy to overcome the significant pedestrian and accessibility challenges associated with the topography of Woods Creek. It is designed to link to a new entry to the library providing a new entrance to the building and more direct access to the building elevators.

The bridge in combination with a broader landscape strategy, the Green Link, proposed for the area between Leyburn Library and the Science Center, provides an accessible route extending from the Law Building to Stemmons Plaza. This landscape strategy includes new ramps designed at a five percent slope transitioning to entrances on the Science Center and Library.

In addition to this specific example, the master plan recommends a broad range of improvements across the campus with the intent of providing a unified accessible network responsive to desired patterns of movement. Across campus, areas of pedestrian and vehicular conflicts are addressed as are recommendations for new ramps and the removal of stairs as well as other accessibility barriers.


Climate Commitment

As a signatory of the Climate Commitment, Washington and Lee University is working toward climate neutrality. The Climate Commitment requires tangible actions for reducing the six greenhouse gases addressed under the Kyoto Protocol, the most significant of which is carbon dioxide (CO2). It also requires that the University maintain a Climate Action Plan. The Washington and Lee Climate Action sets 2050 as the target date for climate neutrality to be achieved by:

  1. Adding more efficient HVAC equipment,
  2. Reducing the amount of space required to be heated and cooled,
  3. Decreasing reliance on fossil fuels,
  4. Increasing reliance on renewable energy sources such as solar hot-water
  5. Encouraging behavioral modification

Washington and Lee adopted its current Climate Action Plan in 2010 with the stated carbon reduction targets as follows:

  • by 2013 reduce BTU per square foot by 25 percent of 2009 levels
  • by 2020 reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent of 2009 levels

As of 2018, both targets had been met. Campus-wide energy consumption decreased from 132 kBtu/sf in December of 2009 to 96 kBtu/sf by December of 2013. By June 2018, energy consumption was further reduced to 82 kBtu/sf.

Overall, net greenhouse gas emissions on the campus have fallen from 23,061 metric tons of CO2 (MTCO2) in 2009 to 17,974 MTCO2 I 2017, exceeding the 20 percent goal targeted for 2020 (CAP 2018 Update Draft). These reductions are notable given that an additional 200,000 gsf of space was added to the campus in new housing projects and a natatorium facility.

These reductions are attributed to:

  1. Equipment Upgrades – boilers, lighting retrofits, and extensive steam pipe insulation
  2. Operations and behavior change – comprehensive HVAC schedules, temperature set point enforcement, daily office equipment shutdowns, and seasonal chiller/boiler and kitchen equipment reductions.
  3. Sustainability Initiatives – increased composting and an expanded campus garden.

Purchased Electricity

Washington and Lee’s electricity consumption in 2018 totaled 22,083,132 kWh purchased from Dominion Virginia Power supplemented by 507,898 kWh produced from campus solar arrays, representing 2.25 percent of total consumption. Photovoltaic arrays are located on the roofs of the parking deck and Lewis Hall and a solar thermal array on the Leyburn Library which supplies hot water to the building.

As the University continues to work toward climate neutrality, consideration will need to be given to the current greenhouse gas emissions profile of the campus as measured in three categories or “Scopes”. In 2017, emissions attributable to each Scope were as follows:

  • Scope 1: Direct Emissions – 34 percent of emissions were attributable to on campus sources primarily the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Scope 2: Indirect Emissions – 48 percent of emissions were attributable to purchased electricity from off-campus sources.
  • Scope 3: Induced Emissions – 17.6 percent of emissions were attributable to sources not owned or controlled by the University but central to operations or activities (e.g. non-fleet transportation, employee/student commuting, air travel funded by the University).

Note: the above is based on carbon emissions for 2017 which totaled 17,874 Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (MTCDE).

With 48 percent of campus carbon emissions attributable to purchased electricity, it is important to consider the fuel sources utilized to generate the power provided over the grid. According to e-grid (, Virginia Dominion is located in the SRVC e-grid sub-region which has an electricity generation fuel mix as follows:

Nuclear 39.6%
Gas 29.6%
Coal 24.9%
Biomass 2.8%
Hydro 1.5%
Solar 1.1%
Other Fossil Fuels 0.1%

Reported greenhouse emissions associated with this e-grid sub-region are as follows:

  • Carbon Dioxide CO2: 805.3 lbs /MWh
  • Sulfur Dioxide SO2: 0.3 lbs/MWh
  • Nitrogen Oxide Nox: 0.5 lbs/MWh

To put the CO2 emissions in perspective, the national average is 998.4 lbs/MWh compared to 805.3 lbs /MWh for power provided to the Washington and Lee Campus. The lowest CO2 emissions in the US are reported in the New York Upstate e-grid sub-region where they total 294.7 lbs/MWh. In this sub-region, nuclear and hydro sources account for over 60 percent of the power generation.

Given the current fuel mix and emissions, the University will need to continue reducing purchased electricity consumption until such time that power provided has a lower CO2 profile. Removing coal from the fuel mix is a critical consideration.

Renewable Energy Opportunities

Looking ahead, renewable energy options will be required to achieve the climate neutrality in 2050. To that end, the following recommendations and initiatives provide promising options:

On-Campus Solar Panels

Given the success of the campus solar panel installations, it is recommended that additional panels be considered for existing buildings and new construction to further increase the renewable energy available for campus electrical needs. Potential large span flat rooftops that present opportunities for solar include:

  • The Leyburn Library – south portion
  • Center for Global Learning – east wing
  • Science Center expansion
  • Doremus Gymnasium
  • Lenfest Center, Wilson and Wilson expansion
  • Parking Garage – additional panels on the periphery
Solar Energy Consortium

Washington and Lee is leading an effort to offset the University’s total electricity load by creating a consortium of Virginia colleges and universities with the goal of commissioning a renewable energy project to produce a minimum of 10 MW of energy annually. If successful, this offsite renewable energy project potentially would enable the University to reduce its carbon emissions by just under 50 percent of the current total of 17,974 MTCDE to 9,228.7 (assuming no other changes in the profile). For more details, please see the 2018 Climate Action Plan Update.

Geothermal and Biofuels

The University is also examining options for renewable and sustainable heating sources with the goal of transitioning from natural gas to even lower carbon sources for campus heating, including geothermal heating systems and low carbon fuels such as biofuels. The University will continue to focus on heating demand reduction strategies such as building envelope upgrades, heat recovery enhancements and lower domestic water use. If the regional grid becomes less carbon intensive, some applications of a heat pump may be possible as well.

Master Plan Recommendations

Building upon the ongoing initiatives and the opportunities for the University, the master plan includes the following recommendations in response to the Climate Commitment:

  • Utilize existing building space more efficiently before building new space, recognizing the connection between space, energy and emissions.
  • Continue to improve the energy performance of existing buildings
  • Specify high performance and robust energy usage intensity (EUI) targets for renovation and new construction.
  • Integrate solar and geothermal into new construction and existing buildings where feasible or appropriate.
  • Continue to look for off-site renewable energy opportunities.
Building Energy Performance

As the University implements the master plan, approximately 150,000 sf of new facilities will be added to the campus contradicting the stated goal of “reducing the amount of space required to be heated and cooled”.

Additional building area will increase the total amount of square footage per student, an important metric in energy and emissions considerations. Currently, the University has in the range of 1,120 gsf per student, a large amount of space compared to other institutions (450 SF per student at public institutions). With the proposed buildings, the University will provide an estimated 1,190 gsf per student. With this increase comes the responsibility and challenge of providing mission-related space while reducing energy consumption and emissions. To that end, Washington and Lee will need to continue ongoing initiatives to: 1) improve the efficiency of existing facilities; 2) implement efficient operational practices; 3) transition to renewal sources of energy; and, 4) focus on behavioral change and education.

Energy Efficiency Policies

Washington and Lee has established several policies and practices intended to reduce energy consumption in renovation and new construction projects:

  • Projects will be developed internally and presented for bid externally with explicit recognition of Washington and Lee’s carbon neutrality goal as a frame for project parameters.
  • All new buildings, and where possible, all significant renovations, will be certified at a standard of LEED Silver or higher. All projects will achieve the maximum number of energy efficiency points possible.
  • Life cycle cost analysis will replace first-cost analysis in driving project decision-making.
  • Mixed-use buildings (e.g. office, classroom, labs) will be designed to cluster HVAC zones by type of use for maximum flexibility in tailored heating and cooling schedules.
  • Programmatic considerations will include appropriate times of use, and buildings will be designed for maximum energy conservation not only when they are in use but also when they are not.
Target Energy Usage Intensity (EUI)

To meet this challenge, it is recommended that the University go beyond LEED to focus more specifically on energy consumption as measured by energy use intensity (EUI) in kBtu/sf/year. To improve the energy use efficiency and reduce the emissions associated with existing buildings and new construction, the following EUI targets are suggested:

Capital ProjectCompletionRenovation SFTarget EUINew Construction SFGreen Opportunities
Harte Center, Library Reno 2020 8,300 31.2 N /A

Green roof 4' perimeter
Solar in Center

Elrod Reno & Dining Pavilions 2021 18,000 36.0 2,500
Upper Division Housing - new construction 2021 N /A 14 .9 TBD Passive House & Solar
Institutional Museum and Garage - new construction 2022 N /A 28.5 23,000 Solar
Williams School Reno & New Construction 2023 18,526 36.0 46,468 Solar?
Admission & Financial Aid New Construction 2024 N /A 27.0 35,445 Solar
Wilson Hall Addition 2025 N /A 28.5 7,800 Solar
Softball Field 2026 N /A N /A N /A Shading for seating
Science Center Reno & Additions 2028 TBD 111.0 (Lab)
36.0 (Rest)
74,000 Solar

The above represent a 70% reduction in EUIs of Baseline Buildings, as per Arch 2030 challenge targets. They are achievable, with effort: high-performance building envelopes and systems, Passive House standards for residential. They have the possibility of net-zero if PV solar is added, for buildings of 1-4 stories, depending on the building specifics.


Utilities and Infrastructure

The master plan is coordinated with the Utility Master Plan, completed in 2012. No major updates were carried out as part of the master planning process; however, the planning team consulted with the in-house engineering team to understand the key issues and considerations relative to the capacity and flexibility of the various systems for accommodating campus development. Key conclusions of the coordination process revealed the following points:

  • CHW Loop: Additional CHW and steam capacity is needed for growth and to bring more buildings onto the loop
  • Chillers: capacity to be increased in the next 5 years; replace one 6 ton with a 12 ton chiller
  • Boilers: capacity needs to be increased (replace a 5 ton with an 8 ton boiler)
  • Electrical: System in good shape
  • IT Fiber: Loop in good shape
  • Gas Supply: Additional tap for north campus facilities needed in next five years
  • Potable water: 12” water main to be replaced on Woods Creek Road in the next 2-3 years
  • Stormwater: University works under City’s MS4 Permit; managed on a project by project basis; 4 underground storage areas are located on campus
  • Sustainability: Potential for cogeneration, on-site stormwater infiltration, and energy efficiency interventions

Subsequent to the completion of the Master Plan the University engaged with a consultant to update the Utility Master Plan. A summary of the findings is provided in the following paragraphs.

2021 Utility Master Plan Executive Summary

Developed by Affiliated Engineers Incorporated (AEI)


Washington and Lee University has prepared a Strategic Plan which lays out the educational mission for the university over the next decade. A campus Master Plan update has been developed in support of the Strategic Plan including ten Capital Projects to support the university's growth. At the same time, the University has adopted a Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions 50% by 2029 and achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2050. Recognizing the Campus Master Plan projects will increase heating, cooling, electrical, and domestic water loads on aging campus utility systems, University Facilities engaged Affiliated Engineers Inc. (AEI) to produce a Utility Master Plan. The plan has provided a list of efforts required to maintain reliability and resiliency of the Campus’ aging utility systems, meet load growth, and support the Climate Action Plan.

Utility Master Plan Development

The process for developing the master plan included four major steps:

  1. Determine utility systems’ condition, capacities, current loads, and future loads.
  2. Develop strategies to meet projected load growth and car-bon-neutrality goals.
  3. Perform qualitative analysis of the strategies to anticipate cost, maintenance, viability of sustainable technologies, energy efficiency, carbon savings, and water savings.
  4. Create a list of utility projects to integrate in the planning and budgeting of the ten Capital.

Projects to meet load growth, energy efficiency, and carbon-neutrality goals.


Existing campus utilities are generally in good operating condition. However, several components are at the end or beyond their service life and few will accommodate the demands of the Campus Master Plan. The attached campus map visually reflects the extent of utility upgrades needed. Significant investment in utilities and Power Plant capacity will be necessary to support campus growth and commitments to the Climate Action Plan.