By SHANNON WATKINS
After months of debate and negotiation, Virginia Tech’s Stadium Woods, an approximately dozen-acre stand of old-growth trees, has been spared.
The Tech Athletics Department had been eyeing Stadium Woods as a site for its new indoor football practice facility for some time, but opted instead to build it on another spot adjacent to Lane Stadium. A Virginia Tech Board of Visitors subcommittee approved the compromise, according to Dr. John Seiler. Seiler is head of the Arboretum Committee who evaluated Stadium Woods and helped advise the university on the matter.
He said of the compromise, “All groups worked well together on this. (Assistant Vice President of the Office of University Planning) Jason Soileau did a great job communicating with all the groups and getting us where we are.”
“I think it was clear that the Stadium Woods were out,” said Tom Gabbard, associate director of athletics, Internal Affairs. “Then to the Arboretum Committee’s credit, they came up with something that worked (for us).”
As far as the possibility Stadium Woods might be targeted for future development, Gabbard said, “No. I’m not going be here 10 years from now, but at this point we have no inclination at all to do anything with Stadium Woods.”
Seiler, however, took a more conservative approach to the long view. “Administrations and Athletic Directors change and new ideas could jeopardize the woods,” he said. “It needs at a minimum to be elevated in stature to the Drill Field, Duck Pond or War Memorial Chapel. At best it should be in a conservation easement.”