Improvements to enhance health and wellness on the Virginia Tech campus will include significant renovations to War Memorial Hall and portions of McComas Hall. The renovations are part of the university’s commitment to supporting holistic student well-being through enhanced student health, wellness, counseling, and recreational sport resources and programs.

War Memorial Hall will be fully renovated with 247,600 gross square feet (GSF) of renovated space and 15,300 GSF of new building. The design has been approved by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and is slated to begin in December of 2019. Upon completion, War Memorial Hall will house Hokie Wellness, Recreational Sports, School of Education faculty offices, and research and office space for the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE) that will bring together health science with hands-on application of exercise, health, and well-being.

War Memorial renovations will include new, refreshed, and expanded exercise and activity spaces; dedicated functional fitness space; mind and body studio; dance studio; teaching weight room; wet classroom for aquatic and safety instruction; utility upgrades, including air conditioning; modernized general assignment classrooms; student gathering spaces; and administrative offices. Newly modernized locker rooms and bathrooms will include family changing rooms and all-gender spaces.

A partnership between Recreational Sports and HNFE will bring a performance center, which will allow practical application of the research done by HNFE. The space will include a teaching weight room, an athletic training space, two teaching classrooms, consultation space, and fitness assessment equipment, including a BodPod and DEXA scan.

Hokie Wellness will occupy the third floor of War Memorial Hall. There will be an entrance to the building on a third-floor bridge from Payne Hall. From that entrance, patrons will enter a well-being hub, which will include wellness peer-education centers, mindfulness and reflective spaces, a teaching kitchen, a recovery lounge, consultation rooms, and other features which expand preventative and educational well-being programs for students and employees.

The School of Education’s offices and classrooms will be housed in the historic, Drillfield-facing front portion of War Memorial Hall with renovated space that will enhance the learning environment.

A beautifully designed space will link the historic front of the building to the high visibility activity and well-being portions in the rear of the facility. This will provide a gathering space for students near the center of campus in an environment that promotes well-being and a sense of community.

In addition, this comprehensive student wellness improvements capital project will include Schiffert Health Center. Located in McComas Hall, the center will be renovated and expanded to provide additional lab space, more exam and treatment rooms, improved specialty clinic spaces, and a new main entrance for check-in.

Campus impact

Recreation spaces in War Memorial Hall will operate as normal for fall 2019 and will close at the conclusion of fall semester. Schiffert Health Center and Cook Counseling Center will remain unaffected during the 2019-20 academic year, as work in McComas Hall will not begin until late spring of 2020.

It is expected War Memorial Hall will be offline approximately 18 to 24 months, and reopen in the fall of 2021. To reduce the impact of the renovation project on the campus community, several steps will be taken — including setting up a temporary covered gym at the tennis courts on Beamer Way and extending the hours of operation at McComas — to deliver recreational and fitness programs while the facility is offline.

Temporary structure

Construction will begin soon on a tension fabric structure at the South Rec Tennis courts along Beamer Way. The 40,000-square-foot dome-like facility will include six courts for basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, and other court-based activities along with student organization reservations. Providing space for sport clubs, martial arts, and intramural sports will ensure that McComas Hall’s courts remain open for patrons’ pick-up play.

Extended hour at McComas Hall

To better serve the exercise needs of our campus community in McComas Hall, memberships will be available to employees, retirees, and long-term guests. Hours of operation at McComas will also be extended to open at 5 a.m. as well as remaining open during holiday breaks.

McComas Hall will remain open to all full-time students, as this is included in the comprehensive fee. Beginning in January 2020, two membership options will be offered to Virginia Tech employees, retirees, and long-term guests:

  • The Early Bird option allows members to access McComas from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, in addition to full weekend access.
  •  All-Access membership will allow patrons to utilize the entirety of Recreational Sports’ hours and services.
  • The cost for these memberships for January through August 2020 are:
 
  • Early Bird membership
  • Spring: $46
  • Spring and summer: $77
  •  All-Access membership
    • Spring: $163.50
    • Spring and summer: $286

Additional facilities and programs available to the campus community

  • Twelve lighted tennis courts located on Washington Street just east of the Hahn Hurst Basketball Practice Center.
  • More than nine acres of turf fields located on south Beamer Way.
  • The newly renovated Prairie Quad, including a new Fitness Park with fitness equipment, two outdoor basketball courts, and two sand volleyball courts.

Access and utilization of these spaces does not require a recreation membership.

  • HokieFit, an online training program, includes daily workouts and communication from fitness staff. Designed for all levels of fitness, the monthly program can be completed from the comfort of one’s home or residence hall. While it provides logistical independence for users, HokieFit also allows for shared encouragement and accountability with a cohort through social media.
  • Venture Out, Virginia Tech’s outdoor recreation program, has increased offerings and has doubled the number of trips it will offer this fall, including new Green Exercise programs, tech skills clinics, trail service opportunities, and open registration for the Venture Out Challenge Course. A greater variety of rental gear will also be available.

What’s next

The campus community is encouraged to visit the facilities project webpage and join the War Renovations Google Group to stay up-to-date on the latest project advancements. For questions and feedback, please communicate via email to recsports@vt.edu.