Editor's note: This article was updated on 1/20 to accurately reflect the departments housed in Holden Hall.
As the 2010s have officially come to a close, a new door has opened on the ‘20s and Virginia Tech has big plans for the future of its campus, or rather campuses. Here is what you can expect to see during the ‘20s and beyond.
Construction this past fall semester has been a staple and common sight on Tech’s campus. Holden Hall, for example, the Virginia Tech building built in 1940, that housed the Mining Engineering Department and the Materials Science and Engineering Department, was demolished before the onlookers outside of Turner during the fall of 2019. This old structure stood as the pinnacle of collegiate architecture with its ivy-covered Hokie Stone, professors’ offices that had the air of old paperbacks and antiquated laboratory interiors. It is now closed for renovation.
Despite the minor irritants that surround the renovation, it will create more classroom space on campus in the new wing with its Center for Autonomous Mining and Robotics, new labs pertinent to future innovation and research. After remodeling, there will be a new four-story wing, an east wing and another three-story wing.
Much like Holden Hall, Virginia Tech’s other current construction project is that of the Creativity and Innovation District located near the residential side of campus across from Squires and the Graduate Life Center. The innovation District will house 600 new students, a Living and Learning Community and more space with social and academic settings.
Many students are annoyed at just how cumbersome construction is, despite how it yields a beneficial outcome.
“I don’t mind the construction because I know that Tech is changing the school for bigger and better things that we can benefit from, but it does get distracting and difficult when roads are blocked off due to construction. They’re trying to build the school for our future, but currently it is kind of in the way,” said Amanda Meccia, a sophomore majoring in psychology.
Although challenging to think so far ahead, such construction will become commonplace throughout the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s. With plans to double in size as a university by 2047, Virginia Tech’s main campus plans to make West Campus Drive the center of campus in which buildings will erect around the Duck Pond to reflect the layout surrounding that of the Drillfield.
A growing Hokie population is set to accompany campus growth in the coming decade. The over enrollment for the class of 2023 can be anticipated during the coming decade as well as Virginia Tech seeks to increase in size.
“I think it’s good that VT will finally have enough space to hold the students they accept,” said Sarah Kate Simmons, a sophomore majoring in animal and poultry sciences. “I’m all for becoming a bigger school and accepting more Hokies, but we should make sure there’s enough space for them.”
Beyond the campus in Blacksburg, classrooms, spaces for new startups/research, offices and areas for alumni events are to be constructed. Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in Alexandria is set to develop as a new hotspot for technology startups. As the campus is developing in tandem with Amazon’s new headquarters, students at Virginia Tech serve as possible employees to enter Amazon’s workforce. The massive size of the current freshman class is often attributed to the presence of Amazon near the Innovation Campus; this being frequently known as the Amazon effect.
Despite the larger campus, the university seeks to decrease 1990 emissions levels by 80% before 2050. The university hopes to make use of natural gas for 80% of its fuel source, a plan possibly stimulated by protests on campus during the fall of 2019.
A growing campus comes with its aches and pains; dealing with frequent loud bangs and the sound of machinery at all hours of the day is just going to be the price that Tech students pay. The ‘20s will continue to see construction, immense expansion and more and more Hokies. After all, who’s to say having more Hokies is a bad thing?