A plan for a new indoor football practice space at Virginia Tech will be recommended to the Board of Visitors at its meeting on Monday. The controversial building proposal has environmentalists concerned that the adjacent old growth forest could be at risk.
Under the plan that will be recommended by the University, a new football practice building will be go in where an outdoor practice field now sits -- between Lane Stadium and an old growth stand of trees known as Stadium Woods. The much loved, eleven acre forest was once on the list of potential sites for the new facility.
The recommendation for the new construction project includes a requirement for minimal tree impact on Stadium Woods. A stone’s throw from the proposed site of the practice space, the woods comprise one of the few old growth, white oak forests left. Supporters rallied to its defense, pointing to its importance to people and wildlife, and as an entity itself, which predates the arrival of western settlers in this region.
"It's special to a lot of people, particularly folks inside our academic community for many reasons. For those reasons and others, the university has said we’re not going to impinge upon it. And to a large extent athletics has compromised in that they’re giving up existing space and facility so that we will not impinge or encroach on the woods at all," said Larry Hincker, Associate Vice President for University Relations at Virginia Tech.
The new plan is being haled by some of the most vocal supporters of stadium woods.