Board of Visitors action paves way for new research and teaching facility in Roanoke
At the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting held Monday in Blacksburg, members approved a comprehensive agreement with Carilion Clinic to construct a health sciences and technology research building addition in Roanoke, Virginia.
The agreement paves the way for construction to begin soon on an approximately 139,300 gross-square-foot building containing research and education spaces that will bring together researchers and clinicians in areas of human and animal medical sciences. Their work will focus on targeted thematic areas — biomaterials, body device interfaces, brain health and disease, cardiovascular sciences, infectious disease and immunity, and metabolism and obesity.
The facility will be built on land owned by the Carilion Clinic and will be developed and constructed under a public-private partnership between Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic. The facility will provide approximately 105,000 gross-square-feet for health science and technology research, 16,800 gross-square-feet for comparative oncology research, and 17,500 gross-square-feet for professional development, training, and education.
The $89.8 million project will be funded with $23.7 million of debt, $17.7 million of non-state support and private gifts, and $48.3 million from state appropriations. All debt service will be paid from self-generated revenues from the research program.
The new building will be located at the Riverside Center Research Education and Medical Park in Roanoke. The facility will include high-intensity biomedical research capable laboratories with surgical-type suites, Biosafety Level Three laboratories, and animal imaging facilities that require high field magnetic resonance imaging. A comparative oncology research facility will include a linear accelerator. In addition, high-intensity dry laboratories, experiential learning classrooms, procedural training rooms, computational facilities, and core facilities will support the work that will take place there.
In other business, the Building and Grounds Committee discussed preliminary design concepts for a renovation of Holden Hall. This project includes the renovation of a 20,240 gross-square-foot existing wing, and the construction of two new wings totaling 81,000 gross-square-feet. The new construction would replace two existing wings. The refurbished Holden Hall would support the College of Engineering and create a new venue for the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering.
The committee also discussed preliminary design concepts for an approximately 7,000-square-foot addition to the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center and a project to update existing chiller plant equipment.
At the Academic, Research, and Student Affairs Committee meeting on Sunday, Executive Vice President and Provost Thanassis Rikakis provided an update on the most recent developments of the university’s five Destination Areas and four Strategic Growth Areas. Rikakis explained how Destination Areas, or large-scale academic communities of discovery and learning that can be responsive to rapidly evolving 21st century needs, leverage existing disciplinary and interdisciplinary strengths at the university and are organized around transdisciplinary themes that cannot be reduced to a few specific components. This innovative approach will help attract talent, partnerships, and external resources of the university and Virginia to advance discovery.
Rikakis noted that Virginia Tech plans to hire more than 400 new faculty members to support the Destination Areas over the next five years, on top of the approximately 500 faculty members to be hired during the same time to support other academic programs and needs. The first 35 Destination Area-related faculty hires have joined the university this fall.
Vice President for Research and Innovation Theresa Mayer and Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo also provide board members with operational updates of their functional areas.
Board members named Michael Erskine the Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and Director of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and 17 individuals were honored with emerita or emeritus status. Stories on each person will appear in Virginia Tech News beginning Wednesday, Sept. 13.
The next full Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting will be held Nov. 5 and 6 in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.