Expansion and renovations at Holden Hall are set to deepen research, enhance experiential learning, and boost recruiting opportunities for the Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s Mining and Minerals Engineering and the Materials Science and Engineering departments.

Construction is underway at the 42,100 gross-square-foot (GSF) Holden Hall, which was originally built in 1940. The project will include demolition of the single-story east and north wings, replacement of the north wing with a new four-story wing, and replacement of the east wing with a new three-story wing. The building’s three-story south wing will undergo full renovations.

When complete, the building will total approximately 102,000 GSF of new and renovated space.

New laboratories incorporated in the renovations will transform the development of materials using the latest technologies. New computational spaces will fuel transdisciplinary collaboration, while three new 50-seat classrooms equipped with the latest A/V capabilities will help drive academic programing.

“The College of Engineering is positioned for tremendous growth,” said Julia M. Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering. “Being able to both renovate and expand spaces like Holden Hall is imperative to attracting the best and brightest undergraduate and graduate students and exceptional faculty to lead them in the classroom and in research.”

Anchoring Holden Hall’s new wing will be the cutting-edge Center for Autonomous Mining and Robotics. Throughout the two-story space, students, alongside leading faculty and industry professionals, will have the opportunity to engage in autonomous mining and work with natural materials that are three-to-four feet deep.

The top level of the mine will feature a glassed-in area where students will learn about advanced automation methods. While mining engineering students will benefit from working in the Center for Autonomous Mining and Robotics, all students who use the space will gain an advantage through transdisciplinary research across mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and those pursuing computer modeling and data analytics.

The design of the materials science and engineering teaching laboratories will serve an instructional function for undergraduates and provide research groups in the department and other engineering disciplines with shared access to a wide array of fundamental equipment. One such lab, the Materials Active Design and Exploration Laboratory, will provide flexible research space for materials science and engineering senior design and other long-term student projects, demonstrations, and research needs.

The building’s new outdoor roof terrace will host small student and faculty groups. New offices and a new elevator in the addition will also be included.

The building is slated for LEED Silver (or above) certification and will incorporate an environmentally-friendly HVAC system and low-flow plumbing throughout the building.

“It has been exciting to watch the Holden Hall project come to life. The open-space labs, countless collaborative spaces, and modernized upgrades will help perpetuate learning, teamwork, and discovery for years to come,” said Chris Kiwus, associate vice president and chief facilities officer.

The highly collaborative and technology infused learning spaces that will be included reflect Virginia Tech efforts to align campus’ physical framework with its commitment to transdisciplinary education and engagement. This fusion of mission and campus are highlighted in the university’s strategic plan, The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries.

The upgrades also address the recommendations put forth by the Beyond Boundaries 2047: The Campus Plan in addressing the College of Engineering’s need for expanded space.

“The state-of-the-art furnishings and expanded learning and research spaces that will be delivered under the Holden Hall renovations will help catalyze the university’s efforts to provide best-in-class facilities, bolster innovation, and attract top-notch talent,” said Dwayne Pinkney, senior vice president and chief business officer.

Holden Hall is named for Roy Jay Holden, a professor of geology and geology department head from 1905 to 1945. The noted geologist sited Virginia's first gas well, located water wells when a shortage threatened Virginia Polytechnic Institute (now Virginia Tech), and assessed the safety of the Claytor Lake Dam site. He forged his true legacy in the classroom, where he stimulated a lifelong scientific interest in his students.

Campus impacts:
Now through approximately November 2021, there will be ongoing pedestrian, parking, and road impacts surrounding the Holden Hall construction site. Please click here for the latest pedestrian and parking impacts associated with the project. Visit the Campus Closures Map for the latest traffic and pedestrian impacts across campus.

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