Construction is underway for a $105-million dollar Virginia Tech Creativity + Innovation District Living Learning Community. The living learning community will be a multispace residential and classroom building aimed to foster creativity and innovation among Virginia Tech students.
The building, which will be located between Otey Street and Kent Street next to the Graduate Life Center, is the first step toward accomplishing the university’s goal of developing the Creativity and Innovation District. A part of the space was previously used for the University Club.
According to VMDO Architects, the design architect firm for the project, “Virginia Tech’s Creativity and Innovation District (CID) is envisioned as a signature inter-disciplinary innovation hub located at the eastern edge of campus, where Virginia Tech meets downtown Blacksburg.”
Frank Shushok, senior associate vice president for Student Affairs at Virginia Tech, said this development will house a wide array of students and has many aspects that will allow creativity and innovation to flourish.
“This is a really unique facility and in many ways I think it will be national model for a lot of institutions to pay attention to and do things differently,” Shushok said.
According to Shushok, the first floor will have multi-use teaching and learning spaces, including teaching studios, seminar and critique rooms, a 3100 square foot performance hall, practice rooms, a woodshed, metal shop, paint booths and makerspaces for welding.
The remaining five stories will include apartments for visiting and permanent faculty.
In addition, according to VT News, “The project scope includes a three-winged, interconnected 596-bed residential life facility that includes academic, social, research, and collaboration space.”
Three living learning communities will be housed in the building, including Studio 72 and Innovate, as well as a new program for students in the college of architecture and urban studies. Student-athletes will be residing there as well.
According to VMDO, the building will include almost 30,000 square feet of public space which will be used to create artistic-, performance- and research-based experiences for students. These experiences will support engagement and connections between the CID, Virginia Tech and Blacksburg.
According to Shushok, because of the building’s close proximity to downtown Blacksburg, there is hope to strengthen student interaction with the businesses within the community.
The construction is estimated to be complete in June 2021, and is expected to open to students the following fall semester.
“With all these unique spaces, it’s gonna be a unique environment and something special for Virginia Tech,” Shushok said.