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Capital Outlay program features many projects

By Netta S. Smith

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 31 - May 9, 1996

Virginia Tech will experience a construction boom the likes unseen since Marshall Hahn was president as years of effort to raise funds for badly needed capital projects take shape across campus.

"Higher education has faced some difficult times during the last couple of years. Yet during that time, Paul Torgersen, Minnis Ridenour and other officials have been quietly waging a vigorous fight to secure funding for capital projects on campus," said Larry Hincker, director of University Relations. "Those efforts have borne fruit as construction cranes begin to take up residence around campus."

(For more specific information, including anticipated start and end dates for construction, see accompanying chart on page 7.)

The capital budget for 1996-98, which totals more than $61,000,000, comes from two sources of money: general and non-general funds. General funds, which are state taxpayer dollars allocated by the General Assembly, may only be used for educational and general purpose buildings. Non-general funds must be used for all auxiliary facilities, like dining and residence halls. These funds include revenue bonds, grants and contracts, federal funding, revenue from auxiliary enterprises, and private moneys.

In some cases of non-general funding of projects, such as student residence halls, bonds will be retired from revenues received through student fees. In other instances, including the athletic-facility addition, the bond will be retired from private gifts. Renovations to Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center will be financed by a bond to be repaid from money generated by hotel operations.

Currently under construction are the engineering building, the Northern Virginia Graduate Center, a track and soccer complex, and an architecture facility. Bids have been received for repairs to the Coliseum roof and construction will begin once state authorization is obtained.

Among projects in the planning stages are two new residence halls. These buildings, which will be located between Pritchard and Payne halls, will provide 440 new beds. Once completed, the buildings will complete a quadrangle with Payne Hall. The new residence halls will replace beds lost in the upper quad in buildings that are being converted to academic use according to the university's Integrated Space Plan. Major Williams already has been converted from a dormitory to academic use.

Construction of a coal-fired boiler at the complex behind Thomas and Femoyer halls is slated for completion by fall 1998. Currently, the university has two coal-fired units and three oil-gas combinations. The new boiler, which will have the latest clean-coal technology, will replace the oldest coal-fired boiler first put in service in 1948.

An athletic facility adjacent to the Jamerson Center will offer modern training facilities, including weight and agility training for student athletes. The second floor will contain an exhibition space, auditorium, and academic training area. When completed, it will allow facilities in the Jamerson Center to be reallocated.

As part of the university's plan to fulfill its commitment to providing facilities for women's sports, a women's softball field just north of the track/soccer complex is under construction.

Planning for the Advanced Communication and Information Technology Center is well under way. The building, to be constructed adjacent to and over the mall to connect with Newman Library, will be the locus of the 21st century information revolution bringing together libraries, researchers, and most importantly, teaching the faculty to collaborate on new learning techniques.

The Student Health and Fitness Center is in the final stages of design. It will be located just south of the intersection of Washington Street and West Campus Drive. It should be completed by summer 1998.

Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center is scheduled for renovation to bring the facility into safety-code compliance. This includes installation of sprinklers and other fire-safety improvements as well as improvements to the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. Also planned is conversion of 25 rooms in Alumni Hall back to hotel use. The project will be completed in phases, with the work necessary for code compliance performed first.

Another project to be completed in phases is construction of a stadium parking lot and a regional stormwater-management facility just south of the Vet Med complex. Work on the stormwater-management facility will begin in spring 1997; the parking lot construction will occur the following summer.

Also planned are installation of handicap-accessible elevators in Price, Holden, Patton, and Seitz; and conversion of the former print shop, on the upper quad between Femoyer and Thomas halls, into a computer-graphics laboratory for the art department.

All-in-all, it will be a busy time on campus during the next couple of years.