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Virginia Tech to break ground on first building in new Biosciences Precinct


   

Human and Agricultural Biosciences Building An architect's rendition of the exterior of Virginia Tech's Human and Agricultural Biosciences Building.


BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 16, 2011 – Virginia Tech will break ground on the first building in the new Biosciences Precinct at the corner of Duck Pond Drive and Washington Street later this month.

“The new building will incorporate laboratory and support facilities focusing on a wide range of microbiological and biochemical research,” said Saied Mostaghimi, the H.E. and Elizabeth F. Alphin Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and associate dean for research and graduate studies. “Our researchers will greatly benefit from the expanded space, which will house research programs on food safety, food packaging and processing, environmental quality analysis, bioenergy and biomaterials, systems biology, and nanotechnology, among other areas.”

The building will provide 93,860 square feet of research facilities for the biological systems engineering and food science and technology departments. Facilities will include several new features for researchers and graduate students — including open-plan laboratories, pilot plant research space, a sensory/flavor-testing suite with individualized test panels, prep kitchens, and group debriefing and discussion rooms. There will also be a number of new offices for researchers, as well as work spaces for graduate students.

The planned Biosciences Precinct will support the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and when completed, is expected to consist of four new laboratory buildings. It will include more than 400,000 square feet of research in the college.

The precinct will eventually allow faculty and staff from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to be located closer together, allowing for better integration and enhanced collaboration. In addition to the four buildings, it will also have a full-scale chiller plant, a greenhouse complex, and its own parking area. Project leaders say they anticipate the new precinct and its facilities will attract more faculty and graduate students and encourage interaction among faculty, staff, and students.

Construction on the first building is expected to take about 24 months and will cost $53.7 million, all of which is funded by state funds through the Agriculture Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Division (Agency 229).

The southeast corner of the Duck Pond Road Parking Lot (the Cage) will be closed for the duration of the project. By the end of the year, approximately 450 resident student parking spaces will no longer be available. For additional parking, residents are encouraged to park in the Chicken Hill Lot on Southgate Drive.

Architecture firm Lord, Aeck & Sargent created the design and blueprints for the building and precinct. SKANSKA USA Building Inc. is the primary contractor and construction manager on the project. To receive updates on the building’s progress, follow CALScontruct on Twitter. 

For questions or additional information about parking on campus, please email Parking Services  or call 540-231-3200.

For questions or additional information about this project, please email Patrick Hilt  or call 540-231-7210.

Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 3,100 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.

Written by Kelly Robinson, a senior majoring in communications and international studies and an intern for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.