UVA Sets Date for Implosion of University Hall

University HallBy Jerry Ratcliffe

Ralph’s House is coming down.

Virginia announced today that University Hall, former home of Cavaliers men’s and women’s basketball, will be imploded on May 25. It’s demolition is part of the athletic department’s master plan, and the space will be replaced by two new grass practice fields for athletics use, with a completion date of August 2020.

UVA director of athletics Carla Williams told us a couple of months ago that Ralph Sampson, the Cavaliers’ only player in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, will push the button to implode the storied building. Sampson put Virginia basketball on the map during his playing career in the early 1980s.

It has been nicknamed “Ralph’s House” ever since after a former team manager snuck onto the roof overnight on the eve of Sampson’s official visit to UVA 40 years ago, and painted in huge black letters “Ralph’s House,” a name that stuck to the building.

Onesty Hall and the Cage, buildings adjacent to U-Hall, have already been taken down by construction crews.

According to UVA, a perimeter will be established around the area and will include the closure of Massie Road and Copeley Road starting at 5:30 a.m. on May 25, lasting until the late afternoon or early evening. Emmet Street will remain open.

UVA said that residents of the area can expect a loud noise that will last several seconds at the start of the implosion.

The event will be broadcast live on Facebook Live @VirginiaCavaliers.

Renascent, one of the industry leaders in demolition, abatement and recycling, is handling the process. The company has completed the abatement of the asbestos that was in University Hall.

The arena opened in 1965 and has hosted various events in addition to basketball up until its closing to the public in 2015.

Once U-Hall is imploded, construction crews will take several months to clear the area.


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