In September, the university dedicated the new Johnson-Miller Outdoor Track. There are only 20 other tracks in the country with a similar running surface, and ours is identical to the Mondo surface track in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. This complex is a testament to two alumni and business partners, Stuart Johnson and Jack Miller, who made the track possible (see Athletics on page 25).
As I gazed from the podium on that cool autumn morning, I was struck by our university's comprehensive sports complex, all made possible by the support of alumni. I could see Lane Stadium, the largest football stadium in Virginia. Nearby is the newly renovated Cassell Coliseum, a modern edifice even after 37 years of service. The new Merryman Center, emerging between the two, is scheduled for completion in spring. It will be a world-class athletic training facility and will house a new sports exhibition hall. Almost within discus throwing distance sits the relatively new English Baseball Field with accompanying stands and press box.
Inside Johnson-Miller track lies our new, regulation soccer field, and within a short chip shot is the new women's softball field. Uphill is the Rector Fieldhouse, also recently refurbished with an indoor Mondo track and a new football-practice playing surface. On the hill across the road are the intramural playing fields, with lights for evening play and a practice area for the Marching Virginians. Beyond that is a facility near and dear to my heart, the Burrows-Burleson tennis complex with six indoor courts and six outdoor courts for intercollegiate play.
Few other schools have such amenities; even fewer have a complex within walking distance of campus. We are blessed to have this beautiful sports complex, made possible through alumni support.
Cranes, bulldozers, and other signs of construction are evident all over campus. Faculty are moving into a large, new engineering building. An innovative, underground building will soon provide much needed space for the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. A student health and fitness complex is well on its way to completion and two new Hokie stone dormitories behind the gym will soon permit upper quad residence halls to be renovated for academic use.
Finally, this fall, we also broke ground for the Advanced Communications and Technology Center. This building will figuratively and literally be the center of instruction and information technology initiatives both on campus and across the commonwealth. Half the funding for this $25-million complex will be provided by private sources. In addition, we have already received a commitment from the federal government for the first $3 million to equip the building. In all, about $150 million of new construction is underway on campus.
Although we are holding down campus enrollment, the university continues to face a long-term space deficit. Facilities now under construction and emerging from the drawing boards will help alleviate decade-old space deficiencies.
If the roadway of progress is under construction, then we are indeed headed in the right direction. Judging from the sound of bulldozers and jackhammers on campus, Virginia Tech, with the help of its alumni and citizen constituents, is building a progressive future.
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