July 16, 2015
Super-sized graphics enhance new practice facility

Virginia Tech's new indoor practice facility was completed and opened for use earlier this summer with only the final touches remaining to be finished - including a massive graphics package that has now been installed. A building of this magnitude required super-sized artwork to complete the look and help make this the finest facility of its type in all of collegiate athletics.

The graphics for the facility, including three interior walls and banners on the outside, cover a staggering amount of space. The football graphics on the back wall consist of 14 panels, each of which fits into an 18-foot-tall by 38-foot-wide section. The giant football helmet in the center stands approximately 31 feet tall. The banners on the north side are 38 feet tall, and the two-sided sport banners on the exterior are 17.5 feet tall apiece, rising nearly six stories above the ground. A total of 13,360 square feet of material is displayed.

The size of the graphics package is only part of the story, as the scope and message of the imagery was of utmost importance.

"We wanted the graphics to represent all the sports that use the facilities, and we also wanted to honor all of our sports," said Senior AD for Facilities and Operations Tom Gabbard, who spearheaded the project. "The banners on the back side represent every sport we have. Inside, the prominence is football because it will use the facility the most. On the interior north wall, all of the sports that will regularly use the actual inside are represented, including the spirit squad."

It was no small task for the athletics department to go from gathering ideas to hiring a vendor, going through the design phase and finally having the massive artwork installed. Virginia Tech Capital Project Manager David Chinn, Gabbard, Thomas Guerry with the football staff, department photographer Dave Knachel and Assistant AD for Special Projects Kevin Jones were on a committee that navigated through the process.

"We interviewed five clients and Forty Nine, out of Ohio, was awarded the project based on their experience and quality of work in various other projects they have completed," Guerry said. "We knew going in that we had the best-looking indoor facility inside and out, and we felt like Forty Nine would be able to top it off with first-class graphics, which they have done.

"We spent a few weeks going back and forth with Forty Nine on design concepts before arriving at what you see in the building," he continued. "We feel like this design is clean, timeless and showcases several of the Hokie legends. The toughest part was deciding which players to feature on the wall. There are at least a dozen more Hokie greats who fully deserve to be up there, and we hope to add more over time."

Along with player graphics, the department also wanted to find a way to display some of the great achievements in Virginia Tech's football history. The six recognition banners, along with the championship banners, can be updated easily, progressing through the next several years.

The last part of the project was to select player graphics for the north wall and the exterior of the east wall. These walls will feature each of Tech's other 21 sports, with the goal being to promote one of the athletics department's core values, Strong Together.

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