BLACKSBURG – Thanks to the generosity of a Roanoke, Virginia couple who are long-term benefactors to many areas of Virginia Tech, plans are now underway to transform the Virginia Tech Football strength and conditioning center into a dynamic training area to meet the current and future needs of the program.
This renovation and expansion will nearly double the functional workout space of the facility located in the Merryman Center, increasing the total square footage from approximately 6,900 square feet to over 12,300 square feet. A completion date of early 2019 is anticipated.
The couple’s $1 million gift commitment continues the strong fundraising momentum of Tech Athletics. The leadership and visionary gift by these generous alumni will officially launch this project, which signals another step in the ongoing evolution of Tech’s football facilities. This upgrade will ensure that head coach Justin Fuente and his squad have the most functional space within a centralized footprint adjacent to the team’s locker rooms, the Virginia Tech Indoor Practice Facility, the team meeting room and the recently-announced and funded $16.5-million Student-Athlete Performance Center that will overlook the Steve Johnson Practice Field.
“We are so very grateful for the continued generosity of our Hokie Club members, whether it’s at this leadership gift level or simply getting involved with the Drive for 25,” Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. “While we have some fundraising yet to do for this project, it certainly launches us forward and expedites the process. In order for our athletics programs to remain competitive at the highest levels, continued investment in our facilities with an eye to the future is essential. The strength of Hokie Nation is our people, and we appreciate the commitment that so many Hokies have made to ensure that we are giving our student-athletes all the resources they need to be successful academically and athletically.”
The new design of the strength and conditioning area will take better advantage of existing space, while moving a refueling station for post-workout nutrition directly adjacent to the current weight room. With the Indoor Practice Facility now providing more than ample space to stretch the squad, the area previously used for that function in the weight room will be available to house more weight racks and stations. Expansive rolling doors similar those utilized in the design of the Indoor Practice Facility will provide quick ingress and egress for large groups of student-athletes. Offices for the strength and conditioning staff will also be relocated to this area. Fundraising is also underway to outfit the renovated space with upgraded strength and conditioning equipment. Individuals interested in contributing to the project in any fashion or supporting the Drive for 25 are encouraged to contact the Hokie Club at 540-231-6618.
“This gift comes at a great time for us to continue the evolution of our facilities and our momentum as a department and football program,” Tech head coach Justin Fuente said. “The vision for the new strength and conditioning area, combined with other recent major renovations are just another example of the commitment Hokie Club members are making to ensure that we compete successfully on a national level while reflecting the values of Virginia Tech.”
The transformation of the strength and conditioning center will mark the fifth major project that has been undertaken to dramatically improve the look, feel and functionality of the Jamerson and Merryman Centers and the surrounding footprint utilized by the football team and all sports.
In September 2017 the team unveiled its new team meeting room that was made possible by the generosity of Virginia Tech Football alum Steve Johnson. The renovated version includes new seating, lighting, wall graphics on the walls and new sound system. Additional plans call for the renovation of the Hokies’ nine position meeting rooms, adding similar features. In addition, this comprehensive renovation at the Merryman Center will reconfigure and expand the team’s position meeting rooms to compliment the look and feel of the recently-renovated team meeting room.
In 2016, work began in earnest on creating a dramatic entrance to the Merryman Center, which is typically one of the first spots that recruits and their families visit at Virginia Tech. From expansive video displays, to an opening of the Legends Hall area that now provides a panoramic views of Lane Stadium, the Indoor Practice Facility and Practice Fields, a welcoming aura can be felt in this area, right down to the floor’s tile which pays homage to Tech’s trademark Hokie Stone.
The Olympic Sports entrance area on first level of the Jamerson Athletics Center, as well as the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms in Cassell and surrounding areas have all received major facelifts within the past 18-24 months.
In 2015, the Virginia Tech Indoor Practice Facility officially opened. Built by W.M. Jordan Company the $21.3 million facility possesses all of the features befitting a nationally ranked football program, while also being flexible enough to help certain Olympic sports. Other sports, such as men’s and women’s soccer, softball, baseball and lacrosse also use the building for training and conditioning. The building is long enough to house two 737 jets nose-to-tail and is wide enough for the lacrosse squad to hold matches during inclement weather.