Capital improvements continue at VMI. The new Post Police building is complete and construction on the Aquatic Center, which began in February, is progressing.
In early February 2021, the VMI Post Police headquarters returned to Letcher Avenue. The new building, which was under construction for more than a year-and-a-half, is designed to provide a secure, modern home for the Post Police, who are charged with ensuring safety for all members of the VMI community and guests. With a stucco finish and Gothic revival style, the new building blends seamlessly with the rest of post.
The $5.6 million building, with nearly 11,000 square feet of space, was constructed following demolition of the Post Police’s former home, the Bachelor Officer Quarters, in early summer 2019. While the new building was under construction, Post Police operated out of trailers at Hinty Hall, home of VMI’s Physical Plant, approximately 1 mile north of post.
The new structure is built to withstand the 180 mph winds of a Category 4 hurricane. Inside, there’s bulletproof glass between staff and visitors, along with dedicated rooms for processing evidence and fingerprints. Upstairs, an emergency operations center with a smart whiteboard and televisions for news broadcasts can accommodate eight people working at once. The EOC also displays footage from webcams around post.
In addition, there’s a room nearby for the policy group, made up of the Institute’s senior leadership team, so they can be steps away during an emergency situation.
The synergy that arises from having people with a common purpose working in one location can’t be over emphasized, said Col. James R. “Jay” Williams ’83, director of emergency management, whose office is now in the Post Police building.
He explained that before the new building, his office was in Shell Hall, while members of the Institute’s senior leadership team worked in Smith Hall. The Post Police, of course, were off post at Hinty Hall. “We had a lot of travel time,” he stated.
Now, everyone is much closer together. “Having close proximity enhances the ability to properly coordinate and stay in touch on a day-to-day basis,” Williams said. “Having all of the resources and staff in one place is going to be really beneficial.”
On Feb. 5, 2021, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Aquatic Center, officially known as Phase III of the Corps Physical Training Facility. The $44.2 million project is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2022.
About 25% of the cost, or $10 million, is provided through private support. The Aquatic Center will include an indoor 50-meter swimming pool, two 1-meter springboards, two 3-meter springboards, and a 5-meter dive platform, plus seating for 570 spectators.
The Knights of Pythias building, a structure with historic ties to Lexington’s African American community, will be linked to the Aquatic Center via a glass walkway and used for office space. In addition to members of the Institute’s senior leadership team, those attending the groundbreaking included representatives of Whiting-Turner, general contractor, and HKS, architect.
Mary Price VMI Communications & Marketing