BLACKSBURG ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​—​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ For the second time in the last two months, Virginia Tech athletics received a major donation, this time a $1 million gift that'll be used to upgrade the football team's strength and conditioning center.

The Hokies will use the money to help pay for a $4.5 million project that will nearly double the size of the football weight room in the Merryman Center to 12,300 square feet. The current setup is 6,900 square feet. The school is shooting for a completion date in early 2019.

The donation was made by a Roanoke couple who are long-time benefactors of the university, though fundraising for the project still remains.

In December, an anonymous couple made a record $15.2 million donation that will be used to complete an upgraded nutrition center for all sports on the fourth floor of the Jamerson Athletic Center.

“We are so very grateful for the continued generosity of our Hokie Club members, whether it’s at this leadership gift level or simply getting involved with the Drive for 25," athletic director Whit Babcock said in a release. “While we have some fundraising yet to do for this project, it certainly launches us forward and expedites the process. In order for our athletics programs to remain competitive at the highest levels, continued investment in our facilities with an eye to the future is essential.”

The new strength and conditioning area will use the space previously used for stretching as additional room for more racks and stations. It will allow Tech to move its refueling stations for post-workout nutrition right next to the weight room. The new workout facility will also have large doors like the indoor facility to allow groups to move quickly to the practice fields and elsewhere.

The renovation will also include relocating the offices for the strength and conditioning staff. Fundraising is also underway to outfit the renovated space with upgraded weights.

“This gift comes at a great time for us to continue the evolution of our facilities and our momentum as a department and football program,” Hokies head coach Justin Fuente said in a release. “The vision for the new strength and conditioning area, combined with other recent major renovations are just another example of the commitment Hokie Club members are making to ensure that we compete successfully on a national level while reflecting the values of Virginia Tech.”

Contact Andy Bitter at or 381-1676. Follow him on Twitter: @AndyBitterVT.


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