Urban Campus

Building (dis)Trust

Since Oregon Hill’s effortful redirection of VCU's original southbound course, the community has remained outspoken and vigilant against any perceived threat to its borders. The expansion of the Cary Street Gym is one example in which historic tension between the University and the neighborhood has caused difficulty. 

Oregon Hill community members objected to the project, which created an addition to the original turn-of-the-century brick building, for a number of reasons including an increase in the size of the structure over previously approved plans and the demolition of an historic but dilapidated stable to make way for the addition. Those opposed to the plan refused to compromise, claiming the construction violated a promise by University President Eugene P. Trani that VCU would not encroach on historic Richmond neighborhoods.

Although they were unable to convince the University to build elswhere, negotiations with the Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association resulted in about $3 million of alterations to help the facility blend in with the neighborhood. Activists referred the approval of the plan as "tragic" and called the resulting structure "a monstrosity."

Building (dis)Trust