Roanoke Higher Education CenterHistoric Preservation Alliance of Virginia Award, 2001
The Roanoke Higher Education Center is a one-of-a-kind collaborative environment creatively housing 16 public and private institutions of higher learning in the former headquarters of the Norfolk & Western Railway. Programming, existing conditions study, design, selective demolition, and complete renovation of the 156,000 square foot building was completed in less than 700 days with bid amount being $4,000 under budget. Restoration of this national historic landmark and state-of-the-art distance learning technology is combined with thoughtful architecture in this unprecedented facility. The facility serves the "typical non-traditional" students of the Roanoke region with distance learning environments as well as typical classroom venues having on-site instructors.
Other aspects of the facility include: 55 classrooms, a cafe that was constructed and is leased out to a national chain; study "halls" were created on classroom floors complete with data and power for laptops built into each desk; a high-speed internet library was created with facilities for receiving books on loan and reserve books from the home campuses of participating institutions; transportation routes were altered to serve the building and the users more adequately and a new fiber optic cable backbone was run to and through the building bringing high-speed internet and intranet access to every seat in the center.