RADFORD — The final piece of the multiyear capital improvement project for Radford University’s Artis College of Science and Technology is open to students.
Reed and Curie Halls —connected buildings built in 1939 and 1971 respectively — opened for the spring semester after undergoing a nearly $34 million renovation project on time and just under budget, according to Mike Biscotte, director of the Facilities Planning and Construction Department.
The buildings’ renovations included new teaching and laboratory spaces for the geospatial science, biology, chemistry, geology and physics departments. A new cybersecurity suite and cybersecurity training lab were also added to one of the buildings. Other new offerings include an expanded 3-D printing lab and a drone lab where students can become certified in flying the unmanned aircrafts in professional settings.
Additionally, the Reed-Curie complex is now connected to the $49 million, 114,000-square-foot Center for the Sciences building completed in 2016. The three buildings total approximately 190,000 square feet, making it the largest facility on campus, according to Biscotte.
Artis Dean Orion Rogers lauded the renovations as a major step for the college.
“Students are now getting a graduate level education at the undergraduate level,” he said in reference to the new research facilities that allow students to apply the knowledge they’ve gained in the classroom.
Rogers said one of his favorite features of the new facility is the glass walls that allow passersby to see what is going in many of the classrooms.
”Now students can walk by and say ‘hey, that looks interesting. I want to do that too,’” he said.
Offering more than 1,100 majors, the building will be one of the most widely used on campus, according to Rogers. Rogers said faculty were able to work with Biscotte’s team during the design phase and throughout construction to make sure the facility met the needs of professors and students alike.
“It was an ongoing process throughout the construction phase of the building. We are all really happy with the end product,” Rogers said.
Physics professor Rhett Herman said having the ability to design some of the research areas was instrumental in helping create a great facility. “Before we had to make do with the room we had, but now we have everything designed exactly how we want it and it’s great,” he said.
Biscotte said his team made it a point to update the buildings while still maintaining the architectural integrity of the past. Much of the trim at the entrance of the building was preserved and exposed brick discovered in the construction process was also kept.
The front of the building facing the campus largely looks the same and was given a “facelift” as opposed to a complete redesign. “The side of the building facing the street has a more futuristic look while the side facing campus keeps with the overall theme of the other buildings on campus,” he said.
The project is just the latest of a number of capital improvements undertaken by the university over the last decade. Notable new or renovated buildings opening since 2012 include:
- Kyle Hall, fall 2012, $44 million;
- Student Recreation and Wellness Center, fall 2014, $32 million;
- Student Outdoor Recreation Complex, fall 2015, $5 million;
- Center for the Sciences, spring 2016, $49 million;
- College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences Building, fall 2016, $49 million;
- Whitt Hall, fall 2017, $6 million;
- Reed and Curie Halls, spring 2020, $33 million.
Gov. Ralph Northam also recently announced plans for a $101 million Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity planned for Radford University’s main campus.
The funding — which will require General Assembly approval — is part of the governor’s recently proposed 2020-22 budget. The money from the state is expected to cover the cost of the project, which Radford currently estimates to be $97.8 million.
The 178,000-square-foot building would replace existing space for the College of Visual and Performing Arts — McGuffey and Porterfield halls would be torn down — and also would create interdisciplinary spaces serving the Waldron College of Health and Human Services and the Artis College of Science and Technology, according to university spokeswoman Caitlyn Scaggs.
If approved, the center would represent the largest capital construction project in the history of Radford University in terms of total funding and square footage, according to a university news release.
A reception for the opening of Reed and Curie Halls is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday, and will include guided tours following a brief program.
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