U-Va. Rotunda waits in line for repairs

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CHARLOTTESVILLE - Thomas Jefferson's Rotunda, the historic heart of the University of Virginia, is among the most iconic structures in higher education. Yet a close inspection reveals that the proud Corinthian capitals above its entrance are crumbling. The elevator jams at inopportune moments. The roof leaks.

Coming up with the money to fix a building of such gravitas might seem a simple affair. Jefferson's university is a storied "public Ivy," with a $5 billion endowment. Someone could, presumably, write a check.

But the endowment is largely off-limits for capital projects. And Virginia lawmakers closed their annual session Sunday without budgeting a single dollar toward the $51 million Rotunda renovation. University leaders are prepared to raise nearly half the cost from donors - but only if the General Assembly commits to paying the other half.

To Virginia lawmakers, the Rotunda repairs were Line 1054 on a list of projects awaiting funding, one urgent need among many for a higher education system that inspires both pride and anxiety in Virginia's leaders....

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