Dietrick Hall renovations build campus community
Renovation progress at Dietrick Hall and the adjacent Quillen Spirit Plaza aims for this hub of residential activity to become an even more connected, inclusive, and convivial community space.
“We want to provide a complete residential experience,” said Brandon Hendricks, associate director of Dining Services. “That means giving people places to come together. So with this project, we will invite you to come in, have fun with your community, and treat Dietrick’s first floor as your living room. Study, hang out, meet with your campus groups. It will be very much one cohesive and welcoming space.”
Guests can expect striking improvements when upgrades are complete, with timelines varying among individual shops. Because construction is dynamic, guests are encouraged to follow Dining Services social channels @hokiedining and to observe signage around Dietrick for updates to access and hours.
Hours for all dining centers are available at dining.vt.edu and in the Hokie Dining app.
The renewal and expansion are designed to bring students together with more amenities for dining, study, relaxation, and collaboration.
While D2’s eight all-you-care-to-eat shops upstairs remain open with regular hours, the sole entrance for D2 is currently on the southeast side of the building. Any temporary changes will continue to be communicated with signs or by staff on site.
Xpress Lane is open with regular hours, and patrons can follow signs to enter on the east side of the building. This venue will change the most with Dietrick’s renovation, shifting to the middle of the building and quadrupling in size. Xpress Lane will stay in its current location until the new space is ready, expected in spring 2023.
Xpress Lane’s dimensions will expand into the former bookstore retail and storage space, affording an expanded product selection and a special venue with a fresh and evolving menu. This new, self-contained shop will take the form of a chef’s table, with seasonal menus that respond to student tastes.
The chef’s table concept, familiar to patrons of D2’s version, emerges from the tradition of chefs serving family and friends in a quiet area of the kitchen as they work. While the idea has grown to include all patrons and more styles of service, a chef’s table still serves to deepen the relationship and responsiveness among guests, the culinary team, and flavors of the season.
“Our chef’s table menu will start with a barbeque concept, with everything halal,” said Hendricks. “We’ll gauge student's interest in the menu throughout the year and shift the concept based on their preferences.”
DXpress currently offers pickup service in late evening to early morning hours at the main D2 entrance on the southeast corner of the building. DXpress serves food prepared in D2 while the DXpress kitchen is improved, with all orders made through Grubhub. When DXpress fully reopens, guests can enjoy easier movement through the space and refreshed dining areas.
Deet’s Place, serving light café fare and house-roasted coffees, has just opened with more relaxed space for browsing menus and more seating for smaller groups. The lounge area is more modern, friendly, and better suited to conferencing and presentations, with more accessible seating, crisp ergonomic finishes, and convenient power strips for mobile devices.
Complementing Dietrick’s expansion as a center for student collaboration, Quillen Spirit Plaza is being developed as a more accessible, welcoming, and interactive landscape.
Now graded with a gentler slope and better sightlines to Cassell Coliseum, Quillen Spirit Plaza will contribute, when completed in spring of 2023, to the development of the campus master plan’s Infinite Loop. Designed as an outer ring to the Drillfield, the Infinite Loop utilizes universal design principles to create an accessible pedestrian and sustainable transportation pathway surrounding the Blacksburg campus core.
Envisioned as an iconic space on campus, the plaza’s aesthetic and usability enhancements will include stadium seat walls, new accessible pathways, a sloped lawn, landscape beds, outdoor seating and tables, walkway engravings recalling moments of Virginia Tech history, and the Nest — home to a special HokieBird statue encircled by elements of the Hokie Bucket List.
The Quillen Spirit Plaza is made possible by a very generous gift from three siblings of the Quillen family: Chris Quillen ’98 and his wife, Jennifer; Hunter Quillen Gresham; and Matt Quillen '06 and his wife, Kelsey. The gift is one of the largest in the history of Student Affairs.