Learning how to make compromises is something most people master in preschool.
Yet, for the Virginia Tech athletic department, this is a virtue that still needs some work.
It took Jim Weaver and company the better part of 15 years, but the department finally found a way of constructing a new indoor football practice facility without offending some part of the Blacksburg community.
After earlier plans suggested locating the facility in the area known as the “Stadium Woods” behind Lane Stadium or in place of the Washington Street tennis courts and roller hockey rink, athletics finally found a location that causes minimal waves.
Now, the facility is due to be placed on part of the football team’s extensive practice fields, providing immediate shelter for players from Blacksburg’s unpredictable weather.
It seems to be an agreeable solution, and although the football team would likely have to reduce the size of their outdoor practice fields under the new plan, it hasn’t attracted the firestorm of controversy the previous options provoked.
Environmentalists detested the idea of the destruction of trees that were centuries of years old. Recreational athletes protested the razing of their already limited facilities.
It was clear that neither solution was practical while alternatives existed.
The real question though, is how it took so long for the department to come to this relatively simple conclusion.
Throughout the battle over Stadium Woods, the only alternative ever publicized was the Washington Street option.
It took the university presenting new options for the project to the Board of Visitors this June for the new practice field plan to even emerge.
Tech’s Office of University Planning gave the location high marks in categories like “walking time,” “pedestrian safety and lightning protection,” “parking loss and replacement” and “respect iconic views and scale.”
In many cases, the practice field site graded higher than both the Stadium Woods and Washington Street options.
But somehow, most people are only just hearing about the current proposal now.
It’s not as if building a practice facility adjacent to outdoor practice fields is some sort of revolutionary idea.
In fact, a pair of fellow ACC schools just provided perfect examples of how to do so.
Virginia completed a facility next to their fields last fall, while Florida State finished a similar building this August.