The post infrastructure project, a $33.2 million initiative that includes a wide variety of infrastructure upgrades, will soon kick off across post. At completion, it will bring enhanced safety and easier access from Jordan’s Point to the main post. And while some aspects of the project, such as constructing a new building to house the VMI Police Department, will be easily noticed, others will be unseen but just as vital.
Housed in the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters, a building that dates to approximately 1870, the VMI Police Department has long been in need of a more secure and modern home. The BOQ is structurally unsound, explained Col. Keith Jarvis ’82, director of construction, and thus the Virginia Department of Historic Resources has given permission for its demolition.
“Our research on the history of the building’s architecture showed it to be an old building but not necessarily a historically significant building,” said Jarvis.
A new facility, designed to match the historic faculty houses on officer’s row, will be built on the site of the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters. While demolition and construction are ongoing, the police department will be housed in trailers on the gravel lot across Main Street, immediately adjacent to the Corps Physical Training Facility.
Also enhancing safety will be a widening of Anderson Drive, which forms the back entrance to post via Jordan’s Point. The one-lane bridge that passes over Woods’ Creek will be replaced by a two-lane bridge with a higher weight limit, and a sidewalk will be added to facilitate pedestrian access.
“VMI needs that access through Jordan’s Point,” said Lt. Col. Daren Payne ’90, construction project manager. “We already use it quite heavily for special events and home football games. … Upgrading that road and bridge is pretty key.”
Less visible items are also part of the post infrastructure project. Renovations to the heat plant behind barracks are on tap, along with repairs and upgrades to the underground steam distribution network.
There will also be upgrades to the building automation system, which is the computer network system that manages the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system in each building on post. Replacing the water line loop around the Parade Ground and upgrading the stormwater management system is another item. The final item is making repairs to stairs and sidewalks across post and repairing the retaining walls on Stono Lane, all of which have degraded over time.
Ninety percent of the funds for the post infrastructure project will come from the state, with the remainder to be supplied by VMI. Work on the project will begin in mid-March, with completion scheduled for the fall of 2020. Anderson Drive will be closed in the winter and spring of 2020 to allow for the road to be widened and the bridge replaced.
Members of the VMI community should expect such disruptions, both Jarvis and Payne noted, but they will pass in time.
“There is going to be pain, but pain is only temporary, and we are doing all that we can to minimize that pain for the general public, the alumni and cadets,” said Payne.
Mary Price VMI Communications & Marketing