After a century of little change in the upper quad dorms, drastic new plans are finally in the works.
New plans have been revealed to give those historic buildings a facelift, and get rid of some of the buildings that have shaped the tradition and history of the university.
Plans will be approved in March at the Board of Visitors meeting to demolish and rebuild Rasche and Brodie Halls, which are reserved for Corps of Cadets, into modern dorms for the cadets.
New features of the residence halls will include air conditioning, more storage space, study rooms for the Cadets to gather and meet, laundry and mailrooms, as well as modest kitchen spaces and a fitness area.
The plan also includes eventually tearing down Thomas and Monteith Halls, and using that area as green space, or potentially part of a bigger repurposed area.
Construction will begin this summer on Rasche Hall, where 286 cadets currently live. While that construction is underway, cadets will be moved into Main Eggleston and West Eggleston Halls, which were once a part of the cadets living quarters but currently house civilians.
Kenneth Belcher, senior associate director for Housing Services, said that relocating the cadets back into Main and West Eggleston just made sense.
“It’s their previous homes, and we thought it would be a good idea for them to go back to their old location for a number of years while we complete this project,” Belcher said.
Main Eggleston used to house male students until it was closed in 1965 for renovations. When it opened back up, it housed only female students, for whom it is still used today. West Eggleston is a co-ed residence hall, currently housing 198 students.
Major General Randy Fullhart expressed excitement that the upcoming project will continue to preserve the history of the Corps while bringing its residence halls and buildings to the 21st century.
“While we’re moving into the future, we’re also honoring the past,” Fullhart said. “The upper quad represents the first 140 years of the university and the Corps. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to shape the campus for the next 140 years.”
Tech plans to hold a design contest between different architectural firms to see who can come up with a unique but traditional view of the Corps.
“This is for Virginia Tech," Belcher said, "and we want them to have a great space that really works for them.”
Not only will the residence halls be renovated, but Fullhart also revealed plans for a new building to go up behind the historic Lane Hall, which was considered Barracks 1, and one of the oldest buildings on campus.
The new building would be multipurpose, and would be called the Corps Leadership and Military Science Building. It would house the Commandant staff, the Corps Museum, ROTC staff, classrooms, the Rice Center for Leadership Development, a tailor shop and uniform storage areas, as well as the armory.
Belcher estimates the project of renovating the residence halls alone, including tearing down the current buildings, will cost around $95 million to $100 million. That estimate does not include the cost of the new Corps Leadership and Military Science Building.
The funds will come from a combination of public money and private donations.
The project will begin by rebuilding Rasche, then Brodie, before building the new Corps Leadership and Military Science building. Montieth and Thomas will be torn down last.
Each building is expected to take two years to completely renovate.
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