May 15, 2014

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) Indoor Athletic Training Facility (IATF) took a quantum leap forward on March 24 when the school's Board of Visitors unanimously approved an interim financing plan for the $18 million, 92,000-square-foot building in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The design-build team of W. M. Jordan Company and HKS Sports & Entertainment Group is set to begin construction on one of the largest indoor football practice facilities in the Atlantic Coast Conference this summer. The facility is expected to open in July 2015.

“W. M. Jordan Company and the HKS Sports & Entertainment team worked together for nearly a year to develop a design-build solution that fits into the culture of Virginia Tech while meeting the needs of its athletic department, now and in the future,” said John Lawson, President of W. M. Jordan Company, the Virginia-based building contractor. “This team is committed to delivering the absolute best quality possible, on time and on budget, to help Virginia Tech realize the vision for this facility.”

“Building on Virginia Tech’s football success and aspirations, this new facility is designed to attract top prospects and enhance student athletic training,” said Fred Ortiz, director of sports design in Richmond.  He added, “We fully expect this new facility will translate to outstanding results on the football field as well as enhance the value of Virginia Tech athletics. This project is more than a building. It’s about focus, rigor, discipline, performance … it’s about building champions. It will enable the team to have uninterrupted practice during inclement weather and give coaches flexibility to have additional practice space during fair weather.”

The indoor training facility spans 400 feet in length by 210 feet in width, and will provide flexibility during practice drills and full contact scrimmages.  An 85-foot-high interior clearance will allowspecial teams to practice punting and kicking. Coaches and videographers will be able to view and film practices, both indoors and outdoors, from observation platforms located 20 feet and 65 feet above field level, respectively. Overhead glass doors along the west wall – facing Lane Stadium – will introduce seamless transitions between the indoor field and the two outdoor practice fields. In addition to football practice, lacrosse, baseball and softball teams may also take advantage of the facility during spring season’s inclement weather.

“HKS designed the IATF to reflect the Virginia Tech campus design aesthetic,” Ortiz explained. “The indoor facility will offer a welcoming and impressive view from the Merryman Center and Lane Stadium. The barrel-vaulted roof incorporates the roof lines of Merryman Center and Cassell Coliseum creating a unified look for the complex. The eight large, precast concrete and Hokie stone piers will be inscribed with the virtues of Brotherhood, Leadership, Loyalty, Ut Prosim, Service, Sacrifice, Honor and Duty, connecting with both the university’s and football team’s mission – or BLLUSSHD (the acronym), as Coach Beamer likes to say.”

Lawson noted, “This project was an ideal selection for the design-build delivery system. Budget and completion date were firm, the design required many details to match the existing iconic structures, and a very limited staging area demanded close coordination of all facets of construction.  It was also imperative that the designer and contractor have prior experience working together.  Our team was really the perfect fit.”

“It’s going to be a spectacular building,” said Tom Gabbard, Virginia Tech’s associate athletic director. “Imagine the venue – with its reflective glass west façade – shining during a night game. It’s going to be a signature building, which is great, and it’s going to be extremely functional.”

W. M. Jordan Company provides construction management, design-build, virtual construction, sustainability and contracting services to a diverse clientele in Virginia and North Carolina.  Customers represent colleges and universities, health systems, senior living communities, public school systems, places of worship, corporations both large and small, developers, and municipal, state, and federal government. The 56-year-old firm currently ranks #145 on Engineering News Record's "Top 400 Contractors", #92 on ENR's "Top Construction Management at Risk Firms", and #21 on Building Design+Construction’s Giants 300 Top University Sector Construction Firms lists.  For more information, please visit or contact John Lawson at

The HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, ranked as one of the top sports and entertainment designers by BD World Architecture, has ushered in a new generation of multi-revenue-generating, world-class facilities. The group’s portfolio includes Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium, Cowboys Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, U.S. Naval Academy Wesley Brown Fieldhouse and Virginia Military Institute Corp Physical Training Facility. These venues are known for enhancing and leveraging team brand, delivering an enhanced fan experience, and serving as destination environments. HKS is ranked among the top six architectural engineering firms, according to Building Design+Construction magazine, and operates from 27 offices. For more information, contact Trish Martineck at


Posted in Sports & Entertainment
Tagged Fred Ortiz, HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, indoor sports practice facility design, sports design, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia Tech