Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approve the Dietrick Hall Enclosure and Spirit Plaza project.
Spirit Plaza is planned to be a gateway from the athletic side to the residential and academic side of campus. It is going to provide a lively, sustainable, and user-friendly area where people can gather.
“The space is going to become iconic,” said Ted Faulkner, director of Dining Services. “Other universities all have a location that is iconic to their school where people take photos, and that is what Spirit Plaza is going to be for Tech. We are going to make it a landmark for Virginia Tech through VT branding and the placement of Hokie Birds.”
Dietrick Hall currently is comprised of three dining centers, D2, Deet’s Place, and DXpress, and a convenience store. It is at the center of Virginia Tech residential buildings and hosts many events, but the space is not efficiently used. Dietrick Hall’s first floor is underutilized, even though there is heavy pedestrian traffic and activity.
The project plans to take the underused, concrete space and renovate them into a larger, interconnected plaza that has more shade and opportunity for intimate gatherings.
New trees and lawn beds are going to be added to increase shade for visitors and improve storm water management. These trees and plants will contain native drought-resistant plant species and will bring more nature to the currently concrete heavy area.
The plaza is planned to have an upper and lower end that will feature sloped lawns for outdoor seating and stadium walls, patio chairs and tables, dedicated hardscape for events, and Hokie-Stone lined stadium seat walls. The stadium seating will have companion seat cut outs and the lawn will have inclusive pathways and seating to be more accessible.
Spirit Plaza will also include WiFi access which allows student organizations to hold more events and meetings outside. There will also be outdoor lighting, so it’ll be space where students can come together in the evening.
Dietrick Hall’s interior will also be seeing major renovations with an addition of 200 new seats and a new interior dining, retail and gathering space. The new space will be created from enclosing the second floor overhand by the first floor entrances. These new spaces will have natural light, new seating and foster an inviting atmosphere.
The project is currently in the final design stages and will begin construction approximately in spring 2020 and last through summer 2021.