PRM-007: Use of the Rotunda

Date: 04/10/2006 Status: Final
Policy Type: University
Contact Office: Rotunda Administrator
Oversight Executive: President of the University
Applies To: University-wide.
Reason for Policy:

While it is very important to regard the Rotunda as an active, working building, the building's special characteristics and historical significance dictate that its usage be carefully considered. There is heavy demand by University groups for the Rotunda facilities. The demand far outstrips the availability of space in the building. Several thousand visitors come to see the Rotunda in a typical month. Admissions officials arrange for prospective students to make their first official contact with the University in the Rotunda. Because of the irreplaceable and fragile nature of the Rotunda interior, it must be used in ways that will not shorten the useful life of the structure.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Terms:

    There are no terms that require definition.

Policy Statement:
  1. General Principles Regarding Use:
    Space in the Rotunda may be reserved for dignified occasions, within the guidelines, by University departments; groups primarily controlled by faculty, staff, or the Alumni Association; Student Council; recognized student groups or University contracted independent organizations (CIO). Any event held in the Rotunda must be related to the University's primary mission. Assignment of spaces shall be content neutral. Because of the heavy demand, it will be the responsibility of the Rotunda Administrator to make the facilities available to as many requesters as possible, avoiding overuse by any group. The Rotunda will not be used for private parties (e.g., wedding receptions) nor will it be used for events requiring the collection of admission fees. No displays of corporate sponsorship are allowed in the Rotunda. The Rotunda is a smoke-free building. Any exceptions to these policies must be approved by Rotunda Administration prior to the event.

  2. The Dome Room:
    The Dome Room is the most fragile of the Rotunda facilities. Of special concern is the heart pine floor, which is fragile and irreplaceable. Special care must be taken in the use of this room. Such events as seated dinners and lectures would be appropriate uses; however, cocktail parties, receptions and dances are not permitted. Refreshments may be served only at seated meals.

    1. Frequency of Use:
      The Dome Room may be used for dinners no more than three times a week, and on an annual average of no more than ten times each month. The Dome Room may not be reserved for any activity for more than two consecutive evenings.

  3. Use of the North and South Porticos:
    Events that do not conflict with inside users may be held on the North or South Porticos of the Rotunda provided that they are dignified occasions and are in compliance with Lawn Use regulations. Alcoholic beverages may not be served on the Porticos. Exceptions, which are very rare, are approved for good cause by the President after consultation with University officials responsible for student life and public safety. (If the exception is granted, written approval from the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer is required; see below.) Reservations must be made through the Rotunda Administrator.

  4. Safety and Security Provisions:
    The Dome Room and other Rotunda space may be used before and after the normal hours of operation only if official Rotunda personnel are present. Users will be billed for the cost of these employees on an hourly basis. A modest use fee will also be assessed. The use of candles in the Rotunda is restricted to oil-less candles in the Dome Room during catered dinners. Candles are to be placed in holders on dinner tables by catering staff. Candles are not to be carried when lit. The use of large greenery and decorations involving confetti in the Dome Room require prior approval by the Rotunda Administrator.

Because of very limited fire escape routes, there is an absolute limit on the capacity of the Dome Room as set by the State Fire Marshall in conjunction with the University Fire Marshall.

The occupant capacity for the rooms in the Rotunda are:

  Seated Standing
Dome Room - Dinner 104 N/A
Dome Room - Lecture 124 Plus 16 (total = 140)
Board Room 40 N/A
Lower West Oval Room 48 Plus 12 (total = 60)
North Oval Room 12 Plus 6 (total = 18)

These occupant capacities are strictly enforced.

All events are to end and all guests must vacate the premises by 10:30 p.m. This curfew is strictly enforced.

  1. Catering:
    University Dining Services must provide and serve food and beverages for all Rotunda events. Food and drink may be served only in the Lower West Oval Room and the Dome Room. Food service in the Dome Room is limited to seated dinners only. No food or beverages may be transported between floors.

All events where alcohol will be served, whether department or student sponsored, require written approval by the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer or his/her designee consistent with the University’s alcohol policy. A signed alcohol approval request form should be submitted no later than seven days prior to the event.

  1. Special Equipment and Furnishings Requirement:
    Furnishings, tables, chairs and heavy equipment will be moved only by qualified University employees trained to do this without hazard to floors, walls, stairs and other furnishings. Heavy equipment such as pianos (except for lightweight electronic models and harpsichords) are not allowed in the Dome Room.

Conference/audiovisual equipment and musical instruments are to be arranged by the user. The Rotunda Administrator must be notified of any equipment (i.e., conference/audiovisual equipment, musical instruments, etc.) being brought into the Rotunda for use during an event, and prior approval must be granted.

Moving of any furniture or antique furnishings to accommodate meeting needs by a user is strictly prohibited. The Rotunda Administrator should be consulted in advance for any special arrangements that may result in furnishings having to be moved. If furnishings are to be moved to accommodate the event, the Rotunda Administrator is responsible for coordinating the move. The user will be charged for all costs associated with the move.

  1. Responsibility of Users:
    Because of the high demand for use of the Rotunda, all requests for its use must have a University affiliated sponsor. A University of Virginia department, a contracted independent organization or a University-Related Foundation may serve as a sponsor. A representative of the sponsor must be present during the event and will serve as the liaison with Rotunda and other University staff.

Users will be required to agree in advance to pay for any damage done to the Rotunda as a consequence of their event. Users will also be responsible to avoid disturbing other users who may be assigned to other rooms in the Rotunda. Any violations of this agreement may result in the loss of future Rotunda use privileges by the sponsoring organization. Student organizations are also subject to possible referral to the University Judiciary Committee.

  1. Visitors:
    During the time the Rotunda is open to the public (usually 9 a.m. until 4:45 p.m.), Dome Room events will not normally be closed to the public. The oval rooms, if reserved, may be used for meetings to which the public is not invited. The public is not invited into the Rotunda after the normal closing hours.

  2. Students Wishing to Study in the Rotunda:
    Students are encouraged to use the alcoves in the Dome Room for study whenever the room is available during normal hours of operation, subject to normal regulation by the Rotunda Administrator.

  3. Luncheons:
    Except for official University-wide functions, the Dome Room will not be used for luncheons. Luncheons may be scheduled in the Lower West Oval Room.

  4. Environmental Control:
    The columns, curved woodwork and some of the antique furnishings require rigid humidity control. Even brief deviations from the specified humidity levels cause cracking and in some cases rapid deterioration. The Rotunda is equipped with an elaborate system for maintaining optimum temperature and humidity levels in all seasons. The system requires that all windows be kept tightly closed, and that all doors except the lower level entrance doors be kept closed. The glass doors overlooking the South portico should also be kept closed.


To Reserve Space in the Rotunda:
Reservations may be made by contacting the Rotunda Administrator (924-1019). Reservations will be made in accordance with the guidelines set forth in this document, and in accordance with University regulations.

Related Information:

FIN-007, Locations Requiring Use of University Catering
STU-001, Use of Alcoholic Beverages and Prohibition of Other Drugs

Major Category: Physical Resource Management
Approved by, Date: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 04/10/2006
Revision History: Previous version in effect from 1/7/2000 through 4/9/2006.
Supersedes (previous policy):
XV.I.1, Use of the Rotunda.