The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech invites Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff, as well as area residents, to become part of Virginia Tech history by signing a steel beam that will be placed in perpetuity within the structure of the center’s new facility. Signatures will be collected on March 28 and 29 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The beam will be on display at the entrance to Shultz Hall facing Monteith and Shanks Halls. The spot is directly adjacent to the future location of the Center for the Arts, which is being constructed at the corner of Main Street and Alumni Mall. Construction of the 147,000-square-foot center continues to take shape and is on schedule, with an opening date slated for fall 2013.

Currently, construction crews with Holder Construction Company are building the 10-story fly tower for the center’s 1,260-seat performance hall, where music, theatre, dance, and other performances and events will be presented. A fly tower holds the systems of lines, pulleys, and other devices that allow a stage crew to safely and quickly move components needed for a stage performance, such as lights and scenery, out of the audience’s view into a large opening above the stage. Work on the concrete form of the 3,000-square-foot Collaborative Performance Lab is also being completed. This area will house smaller performance and rehearsal spaces, as well as laboratories and studios for the center’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, which will provide opportunities throughout the center for faculty members, students, artists, and pre-kindergarten through 12th grade educators to collaborate on transdisciplinary research projects that will focus on the intersections of the arts, design, engineering, and science.

Renderings of the Center for the Arts by architecture firm Snohetta provide a glimpse of the facility.  

The current Shultz Hall will also become part of the new center, serving as the home for two visual arts galleries, which will support not only traditional 2-D and 3-D art, but also virtual, digital, live, and performance art. Moveable walls, a variety of lighting options, room darkening capabilities, and more will make these galleries an adaptive space for visual arts. Work on Shultz Hall will begin in earnest when the 2012 spring semester ends. The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, who have for years taken most of their meals in the un-airconditioned Shultz Hall, will be eating at the university’s newest dining facility, Turner Place at Lavery Hall, when it opens to serve the university community in the fall of 2012. Turner Place, currently under construction behind McBryde Hall on Old Turner Street, will seat approximately 700, including a large separate dining room for the cadets.

While the Center for the Arts will open in fall 2013, it is already partnering to bring programs and events to the area. The center is co-sponsoring "Troubadours and Gypsies," a guest artist recital in association with the mentorship program established between Virginia Tech and Opera Roanoke on April 5 and "Vegetable Verselets" on April 29. The center will also present the third annual Vocal Arts and Music Festival on June 16-29, 2012.