Virginia Tech’s indoor practice facility fits in perfectly with the other buildings on the university’s sprawling campus – from its color to its design features to its architectural touches. The facility was built by Hokies, for Hokies and paid for by Hokies.
The facility, built by W.M. Jordan Company – a company whose CEO is John Lawson, a 1975 graduate of Tech – cost $21.3 million and was finished in the summer of 2015. It possesses all the features befitting of a nationally ranked football program, while also being flexible enough to help certain Olympic sports.
Tech’s facility is 210 feet wide and 400 feet long, with an artificial surface installed by Shaw Sports Turf. The synthetic turf is fast, firm and dense. The company boasts the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens as one of its clients, having installed the surface at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens’ home.
The height from the playing surface to the bottom of the steel ceiling trusses is more than 86 feet at its apex, thus allowing plenty of room for punting and kicking. Its’ eight-foot padded walls, wide sidelines, full scoreboard and 40-second clocks on each end allow the football program to hold a full-contact scrimmage.
In addition, the facility features garage-type doors, which open quickly and allow the players to move rapidly from the outdoor practice field into the indoor facility in the event of inclement weather. Tech’s staff, though, uses the facility more than just when the weather turns ugly.
The facility also features a video platform that runs the entire length of the field. Three doors at separate locations lead out to observation decks to allow the video staff to film the portions of practice being held outdoors. The head coach also has his own observation deck in the facility, with a door that leads to a deck outside for the observation of the outdoor portion of a practice.
A graphics package, installed by Forty Nine Degrees, adorns the walls inside of the building and on banners along the back side of the facility. This package includes photos of great players and great moments in Tech history, including those from both football and from various Olympic sports.
The athletics department oversaw the installation of a new practice field as part of this project, with workers tearing up the bluegrass field and installing a cold-resistant Bermuda grass strain. A new sprinkler system was added, too.
W.M. Jordan handled most of the construction responsibilities for the facility, but HKS Architects designed the facility, and the architectural and design features of the building definitely give it a Virginia Tech feel. It possesses maroon trim and Hokie stone on the bases of each support column. The archway entrance resembles that at Lane Stadium.
Plus, the university’s core values – brotherhood, honor, leadership, sacrifice, service, loyalty, duty and Ut Prosim – have been etched along the bases of the columns. Architects borrowed this feature from the pylons above War Memorial Chapel along Tech’s Drillfield.
The number of teams and student-athletes that will benefit from the massive structure are almost as numerous as the many unique features of this addition to the Tech campus. The athletics department envisions men’s and women’s soccer, softball, baseball and lacrosse all using the building for training and conditioning purposes, particularly during inclement weather in late winter and early spring.
530 Callagan-Sheridan Way
Blacksburg, Va. 24061