The Old Dominion Ballroom (ODB) located inside Squires Student Center will be acquired by the Virginia Tech Honors College effective Jan. 1, 2020. The building will continue to be operated by the Student Engagement and Campus Life (SECL) office.
The Honors College receiving ODB is not a purchase, but a lease of space from SECL. Dr. Heather Wagoner, director of SECL, explained that a Facility Usage Agreement, which is necessary for a lease, has been met. No plan for a purchase has been in question.
“It is a loss of a ballroom for general use by the campus community,” Wagoner said. “We are working hard to find accommodations for student organizations and events that typically utilize Old Dominion Ballroom, including maximizing our current event space inventory and having aggressive room flips to assist with multiple events in one day.”
Recently, Commonwealth Ballroom in Squires underwent a $3-million renovation for ADA accessibility, general replacements in lighting, stage systems, air conditioning and Skyfold dividing walls. Wagoner called this last addition to Commonwealth Ballroom a “great benefit” since the wall can divide the ballroom into two spaces, allowing for more collaboration with university students and organizations.
Old Dominion Ballroom will become the Honors College's SuperStudio space for Honors courses and projects. Honors students will have swipe-card access to enter the space. More developments about the Honors College’s use of ODB are expected to be released as Jan. 1 draws nearer.
In addition to the ODB lease, the university has more plans for Squires in the future. Announced in 2015, the Beyond Boundaries initiative is the 30-year strategic plan for the university which guides development. The Roanoke Times stated one aspect of the plan is the creation of the Creativity and Innovation District, which includes possibly demolishing Squires as the university “plans to pave a public space to better accommodate student life” according to last year’s presentation about the master plan.