Rising behind the East stands of Lane Stadium is a crowd that has seen every Virginia Tech football game. The crowd witnessed every battle in the history of the Hokies and the Fighting Gobblers. In fact, the crowd stood tall during every battle of America's Revolutionary War. Now, the crowd of white oaks is watching the fight for its life.
Over the last year, controversy regarding the Stadium Woods and a new athletic facility has caused heated discussion among students, faculty and just about everyone in the area. A proposed facility would offer Tech's athletic department a boost, but result in the loss of some of the old trees.
The athletic department is definitely building a new indoor practice facility that will cost between $15 million and $20 million — that much is known. However, the questions of when and where it will be built remain topics of interest. Two dueling petitions are trying to sway public opinion against building the new facility on top of certain campus grounds. One hopes to keep the Stadium Woods intact. The other dislikes the alternative — building over the tennis courts and roller rink on Washington Street.
A building that has been in the planning stages since 1998 will continue to languish in committee meetings and on the drawing board until the multi-faceted debate is settled.