Tech offices move into brand-new digs
The university's new $6.7-million student services building will house the offices of the bursar, the registrar, and the Hokie Passport program. Construction on a new career services building will begin in about a month.
By KEVIN MILLER
The rain and fog hardly made for perfect moving conditions, especially when your freight is heavy office furniture and box after box of paperwork.
But the weather wasn't about to get Jean Smoot down.
After all, Virginia Tech's Hokie Passport office was emerging from what Smoot liked to call "the bunker" - a windowless, retrofitted space in the basement of Owens Hall - to its new, window-filled home near the corner of Washington Street and West Campus Drive.
"This was designed specifically for our office," said Smoot, director of the department that's responsible for the identification cards that students use to ride the bus, open locked doors, pay for meals on and off campus and borrow books from the library. "It will be wonderful being able to interact with other offices."
The new student services building - a 36,400-square-foot structure that cost $6.7 million - will also house the bursar's and registrar's offices, making it a one-stop location for students who need to manage their accounts. In about a month, crews will break ground next door on a similar career services building, which is estimated to cost $4.6 million. Because both buildings serve non-academic functions, they are paid for with revenue from student fees, not with bond revenue or state money.
The old bursar's and registrar's offices in Burruss Hall will become academic and office space for the engineering and architecture programs.
Passers-by may notice the architectural contrast between the new student services building and the more modern adjacent structures, said Tech spokesman Larry Hincker.
"This particular building as well as other buildings recently constructed on campus ... reflect a conscious decision on the part of university architects to revive the very, very popular collegiate Gothic architectural style," Hincker said.
Many of Tech's older buildings - most notably Burruss Hall and the other structures on the Drillfield - were built in collegiate Gothic style, with features steep roofs with dormers, pointed arches, towers and decoratives such as gargoyles.
University officials are also requiring all major new buildings on campus - including the student services building - to feature plenty of Hokie stone, the grayish limestone found in Tech's own Blacksburg quarry.
While Hincker said building in the collegiate Gothic style does not likely add much to a project's cost, covering a building facade in Hokie stone does. Hokie stone added nearly $1 million to McComas Hall's $21 million price tag in 1998, Hincker said.
"But as we say here, we build buildings for the centuries," Hincker added.
Other construction projects ongoing or about to begin at Tech:
None of those buildings was financed with money from the $900.5 million bond package approved by voters in November.