Construction Continues on Virginia Tech's Jamerson Athletic Center and Merryman Performance Center

Justin Cates

Summer construction in Blacksburg is one of the constants of life in the breezy southwest Virginia town. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this summer isn't really all that different. 

The major athletics projects are hard to miss from the Steve Johnson Practice Fields. 

Shortly after the Hokies' wrapped up the football season in December, a significant expansion of the Merryman Performance Center football weight rooms kicked into gear. The layout has been revamped in the name of "efficiency" according to strength and conditioning coach Ben Hilgart. 

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A rendering from Colley Architects of the expanded weight room. Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech. 

In addition to a better flow there will be new equipment, new meeting rooms, and a new nutrition space. The entire project covers over 22,000 gross square feet including over 2,600 GSF of brand new space. 

An even larger project is happening in the adjoining Jamerson Athletic Center. Tech's brand new Student Athlete Performance Center will take over the old Bowman Room. 

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A rendering of the Student Athlete Performance Center from Hanbury Architects. Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech. 

Those efforts will result in numerous upgrades including an expanded dining area, brand new kitchen, new serving areas, a service elevator, outdoor balconies overlooking the practice fields, and two-story windows nestled under a brand new slanted roof. 

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An interior rendering of the Student Athlete Performance Center. Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech. 

This week the massive new HVAC units for the project made their way across campus via helicopter in a somewhat unusual scene. 

This is a chance to plug the @VT_groundscrew Twitter account. It's a whole lot more than just photos of folks cutting beautiful grass — though there's plenty of that too.

That account gives a unique behind the scenes look at all of the hard work that goes into maintaining Tech's ever-expanding array of athletic facilities. It puts a human face on folks who do the heavy lifting behind the scenes.   

The project in the Jamerson Center features just under 11,000 GSF of new space and considerable renovation to an existing 15,000 GSF. 

These undertakings are critical to Virginia Tech's efforts to stay current in the ongoing college football facilities arms race. The race has certainly gotten out of hand in recent years, perhaps best illustrated by Clemson's putt-putt course and slide.

Virginia Tech's programs have chosen to modernize in a more practical way, focusing instead on comfort, convenience, and again efficiency. 

The combined cost of the projects is just shy of $25 million. 

Assistant Vice President for University Relations Mark Owczarski confirmed via email that both projects remain on schedule. The Merryman project is slated for completion in the early fall while the Jamerson phase should be finished by the end of 2020. 

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