ROANOKE, Va. - Big changes are coming to Virginia Western Community College and the area around it over the next couple of years.
Construction is going on now for the new community college STEM facility. It will be the largest building on campus.
You can see the steel beams already installed for the more than 72,000 square-foot building. It will feature engineering fabrication, mechatronics, computer, organic chemistry and biotechnology labs along with new classrooms to promote collaborative learning for science, technology, engineering and math.
The more than $30 million project is slated to be completed by Spring 2019.
It's not the only change coming. A parking garage will also be built in the same area to help with parking issues. Construction is expected to start this fall and finish at the same time as the STEM building.
Roanoke City is also working on a project to improve Colonial Avenue, making it an "education corridor" with the college, elementary and middle schools, and an aquatic center, all right there.
There are a lot of people who walk but there are no public sidewalks or safe crossings. There are plans to add three traffic circles at Overland, Winding Way and McNeil roads.
"We don't envision any traffic backups or any problems like that. That was one of our main goals was to keep the traffic moving through the area. We really wanted to provide the campus atmosphere, the pedestrians that they could enjoy the area, have the bike lanes and accommodate a really multimodal type transportation system," said Luke Pugh, Roanoke engineer.
The goal is to start the 18-month project in April or May. There will be some delays through the construction zone.
The first six months will be underground work before they move to street improvements and landscaping.
The cost is $6.4 million.
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