Virginia Polytechnic and State University Center for the Arts

Blacksburg, VA
Virginia Polytechnic and State University
$77 million

This project was unique in its combination of CM At-Risk and Agency Construction Management. As is typical in the CM At-Risk method – the owner contracted with Holder Construction to provide design phase services. Agency services were provided during the construction and closeout phases. This unique combination brought together construction industry expertise for the greater benefit of the owner and client.

The site also sits atop a geological fault line. In the area where the fault line interfered with foundation caissons, additional work and length was required. This resulted in a $3,500,000 change order for unforeseen site conditions. MBP and Holder partnered in the development of the schedule and determined that other work outside the foundation areas could be developed, thus limiting the delay and keeping the project on schedule. The resulting Moss Arts Center is a collaborative effort to support the owners needs while using checks and balances to keep the project within budget while opening discussion for innovation in schedule development and execution. The project obtained a LEED Gold rating, which is thought to be the first of its kind for a performing arts center.


The exterior of the Moss Arts Center is a mixture of curtainwall glass emulating the University’s gothic design, Hokie stone, and reinforced concrete panels. Hokie stone is an indigenous stone quarried in the Town of Blacksburg by Virginia Tech. Structurally, Shultz Hall remained mostly unchanged with the exception of adding a mezzanine for the future Administrative areas needed by Center for the Arts. The Shultz Hall foundation consists of timber piles. Early during the subsurface investigation, ground water monitoring revealed that underneath Shultz Hall the water level was very high. Excavation for the PAC and CPL would deplete the water table and could make the timber piles unstable. The team developed an innovative approach by constructing a “bathtub” utilizing an injected cement/bentonite mixture. This maintained the water level under the Shultz Hall while allowing excavation and drilling of caissons for the PAC.

"The Center for the Arts was a tremendous undertaking that required nearly 10 years from concept to completion. Delivering a successful project was of the utmost importance to Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

"MBP provided expertise to solve problems, assist with scheduling, and help keep costs under control. The end result of the collaboration is a wonderful facility that Virginia Tech, the region, and the Commonwealth of Virginia are proud to showcase."

Z. Van Coble, AIA


Virginia Polytechnic and State University