New building construction projects changing the face of campus
By Jill Elswick
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 15 - December 11, 1997
Completed construction projects have changed the look of the Virginia Tech campus in recent months, and the breakneck pace of campus construction is not expected to slow down any time soon.
Recently completed projects of particular note include a new engineering facility, adjacent to Whittemore Hall, which was occupied in August 1997. The Johnson-Miller Outdoor Track, with its competition track surface and turfgrass soccer field, was dedicated in September. The new Virginia Tech/University of Virginia Northern Virginia Center, completed in October, has replaced a leased facility in northern Virginia.
Tech's athletic facilities have benefited from much of the recent construction. An NCAA-regulation Women's Softball Field has been constructed adjacent to Rector Fieldhouse, which also was recently renovated with an indoor track and a new football-practice playing surface. The Burrows-Burleson tennis complex with six indoor courts and six outdoor courts is now available for intercollegiate play. A new press box is in place at the English Baseball Field facility. The roof has been replaced at Cassell Coliseum. The stadium parking lot has been paved, landscaped, and prepared for stormwater management.
In addition, the Printing Plant has been renovated to relocate the Art Department.
Current construction projects include the renovation of Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center and Alumni Hall. A fire-protection system has been installed throughout the facility. Work to convert 25 office spaces in Alumni Hall back into hotel sleeping rooms is in progress and scheduled for completion in February 1998.
An addition to the Merryman Athletic Facility is being constructed to meet expanding space needs of athletic programs and to support compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972. The new facility will provide strength and weight training rooms, exercise rooms, meeting rooms, and an auditorium for group meetings. Completion is scheduled for March 1998.
A new coal-fired boiler facility is scheduled for completion by August 1998. The project involves the purchase and installation of a new coal-fired boiler with 100,000 pounds-per-hour steam-generating capacity. An addition to the existing power plant will also be constructed to accommodate the new boiler and accessories.
A 42,000-gross-square-foot (GSF) underground addition to Cowgill Hall is scheduled for completion in January 1998. This new architecture facility will be located between Cowgill and Burruss Halls and will include studio, seminar, shop, and office space.
New elevators have been installed in Price, Holden, Patton, and Seitz Halls to improve campus vertical accessibility and to meet federal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Similar elevator work on Burruss Hall is scheduled for completion in February 1998.
Two new residence halls containing a total of 128,256 GSF with a total capacity of 440 beds are being constructed for completion in August 1998. Occupancy is scheduled for the 1998 fall semester.
A new student-health-and-fitness center will combine programs for student recreation and fitness with Student Health Services in a single structure for greater efficiency. Completion is scheduled for September 1998.
A "virtual groundbreaking ceremony" took place in September for the Advanced Communications and Information Technology Center (ACITC), a facility to house research and teaching programs in communications and information technology. The facility will be located on the Mall, with a bridge connecting to Newman Library. Bidding for the two-year project is likely to begin in January 1998.
Projects currently being designed include a third new residence hall to be named for the late Dean Emeritus Laura Jane Harper. Harper Hall will be located between Cochrane and Engel Halls; construction is scheduled to begin in spring 1998 and be completed in time for the fall 1999 semester.
Also being planned are eight additional special-purpose residential houses, a dry rendering facility, and the conversion of various Upper Quad buildings to improve space efficiency.
"We've been extremely busy," said Jim McCoy, director of Capital Design and Construction. In addition to the heavy schedule for 1998, McCoy hinted that even more projects that may be authorized soon.