If you missed the story earlier this week by Tonia Moxley about Virginia Tech’s most recent Board of Visitors meeting, at which there was more discussion about the oft-delayed indoor practice facility that’s going to be built on campus, here’s a link to it.
The choosing of a site, if you remember, was delayed when groups protested the athletic department’s desires to build it on the Stadium Woods grounds near Lane Stadium. So the university went back to the drawing board to evaluate a more appropriate site.
This is from Tonia’s story:
On Monday, Assistant Vice President for University Planning Jason Soileau presented to the building and grounds committee a ranking of 10 different locations for the practice facility.
The rankings were based on several criteria, among them, impacts on stormwater management, parking facilities, pedestrian safety and proximity to existing athletics facilities to minimize player travel time. Also on the list was the effect on Stadium Woods.
Officials said the rankings required that the sites have moderate to no impact on the woods.
“The university is committed to not encroaching on the woods,” Vice President for Administration Sherwood Wilson told the committee. …
Wilson said facilities would work on budget analyses for the top ranking sites and come back to the committee with recommendations.
So where are the proposed sites for the 200-by-408-foot structure? The top three are the Southgate Drive parking lot by Lane Stadium, the outdoor practice fields also near the stadium and the Washington Street tennis courts.
The committee ranked nine sites in nine different categories to come up with scores that indicate the best sites to use. The Southgate site earned the most points with 55.5, the outdoor practice fields behind the Jamerson Athletic Center was second with 48 points and the Washington St. tennis courts were third with 46 points.
All three sites still have their pluses and minuses.
The Southgate lot site does not fit in Virginia Tech’s Master Plan, although it ranks highly in all the other categories. The site would require a basement parking lot to recover spaces lost. The plan also include a new game day plaza.
The practice fields site would put the building on top of the exiting practice area, near the Stadium Woods and next to the locker rooms. One version of the plan has moderate impact on the trees and every proposal with this site has significant issues with stormwater management, another one of the criteria.
From a football standpoint, it wouldn’t be ideal, since it would also reduce Tech’s outdoor fields to either 60 or 75 yards in length.
The Washington St. site received the lowest marks in aesthetics, since it is so prominent along the road. Relocating the current tennis courts and roller hockey would add another $2 million to the cost of the project. It would also disrupt what is a prime student services site.
I ran into Tom Gabbard, Virginia Tech’s Associate AD for Internal Affairs, at the baseball regional last week. He said moving forward with the facility is still on hold until a site is found. In the past, he’s said fund-raising for what is becoming a more and more expensive proposition should pick up once the site is chosen.
“It’s a lot easier to fund-raise with pictures,” Gabbard said last June.
For a more detailed look at the presentation the Board of Visitors saw earlier this week — and get a better sense of where some of these sites are — take a look at the viewer below.