Hundreds of Virginia Tech students will move into Pearson Hall on Saturday, Nov. 14, starting at 7 a.m.

The first entirely new residence hall to open on campus since New Hall West in 2009, Pearson Hall will house about half the members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.

Built in the Collegiate Gothic style that characterizes most of Virginia Tech’s main campus, the 101,422-square-foot building contains more than 230 dorm rooms, as well as study and lounge spaces on each level. It has five above-ground floors; a basement; and a room for storing “Skipper,” the Corps of Cadets cannon.

The new hall is named for alumni couple James “J.” and Renae Pearson of Lavonia, Georgia, in recognition of a tremendously generous philanthropic commitment they made to the corps and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Pearson Hall will be formally dedicated at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20.

It is the first building completed in a sweeping overhaul of the university’s Upper Quad. The project also includes a second new residence hall for the corps, as well as the Corps Leadership and Military Science Building.

Corps Commandant Randy Fullhart, a retired U.S. Air Force general, said the buildings illustrate the ongoing strength of the corps, which has had more than 1,000 cadets for four years in a row, and dates back to the university’s opening 143 years ago.

“Pearson Hall, the second new residence hall that will open next year, and the future Corps Leadership and Military Science Building are visible symbols of the commitment of the university and its alumni to the Corps of Cadets and its leader-development mission,” Fullhart said. “The cadets are thrilled to begin the transition to the home of the corps for its next 140-plus years.”

The Corps of Cadets is one of several special living-learning communities within Virginia Tech’s Division of Student Affairs. That division’s vice president, Patty Perillo, said the opening of Pearson Hall is in keeping with the university’s emphasis on providing quality learning experiences outside the classroom as well as in it.

“The collaboration between academic and student affairs has made Virginia Tech a leader in the creation of learning-centered environments,” Perillo said. “Learning can – and does – take place everywhere on campus. We have intentionally created residence halls that foster community and facilitate learning and healthy development.”

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