Changing with the Times

With ambitious projects on the horizon, Radford University explores future footprint

By Justin Ward '10


As the landscape of higher education grows and evolves, so too may the landscape of Radford University. as released in our master plan, Within the next six years, many spaces on campus, some of which date from the institution’s early days, may evolve to meet the needs of today and tomorrow.

A few modern and state-of-the-art spaces for research, living, working and studying are already under construction. The Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity, an innovative complex that will serve as a blended teaching and learning space for the arts and health sciences, fills the land recently cleared through the Porterfield and McGuffey halls demolition and is slated to open in fall 2024. The Highlander, a boutique-style hotel located on Tyler Avenue across from Radford University’s main campus, will open in late 2022. The Riverwalk trail, part of the River Campus development, is now partially complete. The River Campus will include an amphitheater, restaurant, recreation areas, river access and academic spaces.

As university leadership plans for the next chapter, careful consideration of the need for contemporary spaces is balanced with preserving the classic and stately look of campus architecture.

In September, the Radford University Board of Visitors approved the Radford University Six-Year Capital Outlay Plan for 2022-2028, which reflects the mission of the university. Here are some highlights of changes outlined in the plan for Radford University’s next chapter.


As Radford University Carilion’s (RUC) enrollment has grown over the two years since its inception in Roanoke, Virginia, and future Carilion Clinic healthcare capital demands give Radford University an opportunity to explore options. Carilion Clinic and RUC, alongside the Virginia Tech Carilion (VTC) master planning committee, are working collaboratively to guarantee mutually beneficial ideas are considered to define new growth areas of education and research, the layout of the Roanoke health sciences corridor and the needs of the facility within the next five years. Primary discussions highlight the need for more academic space, larger student health and wellness space, more student housing and dining options and increased research and innovation space to provide additional collaboration opportunities between Carilion Clinic, RUC and VTC.


New fencing, street lighting, resurfaced sidewalks and refreshed Radford University branding will welcome Highlanders across the University Drive bridge. This project will significantly enhance the main entrance for the future River Campus development and coincide with new traffic pattern plans around the Dedmon Center.

Bridge Renovation rendering

Illustration of potential Bridge Branding on University Drive.


Celebrating the Highlander identity by supporting our athletic teams is important to our community and promotes a strong sense of university spirit and pride. Fans of Highlander athletics will notice upgrades to the Dedmon Center, which began in the fall. During her first State of the University Address, interim President Carolyn Ringer Lepre, Ph.D. announced the launch of the Highlander Courtside Experience in the Dedmon Center. This new area will provide a secure, upscale location to enjoy food and beverages, as well as premier seating for basketball games.

Dedmon Center Courtside Lounge and Premium Seating Design

Dedmon Center Courtside Lounge and Premium Seating Design


Sections of McConnell Library were built in 1931, 1965 and 1995. A renovation proposed to start in 2023 and 2024 will make those three components more unified. This work will modernize the library’s building systems and equipment by repurposing spaces to provide amenities found and expected in modern libraries, a move that will rebrand the library as a hub for innovation and productivity. The Radford University Innovation Lab will find a home here as print collections turn into electronic resources. The new space will include learning commons, breakout spaces, classrooms and multiple makerspaces. 

Proposed view of the fourth floor of McConnell Library

Proposed view of the fourth floor of McConnell Library


Illustration of Muse Hall
Illustration of Muse Hall

The largest residential hall has not received a comprehensive renovation since the 1970s. Proposed upgrades to the hall will modernize the facility with renovated rooms, new finishes and improved building systems. Renovated rooms could include apartment-style living, fewer shared bathrooms and improved student study and gathering areas. Updates to the building systems and the exterior of the building are also scheduled. Renovation work could start in 2025 or 2026.


Norwood Hall and Tyler Hall, both built in the 1930s, are the next on-campus residence halls to be renovated. The $17 million upgrades are slated to bring vibrant new life to two of the older buildings on campus. Updates are expected to be similar to the renovations completed in Moffett Quad residence halls in 2016 and will include upgraded electrical, piping, HVAC systems and accessibility improvements. The project is expected to be completed in fall 2024.


Other upgrades include reconfiguring the Dedmon arena seating bowl to provide more convenient fan seating and viewing. New locker rooms, concessions and athletics training rooms are also in store. This additional work should begin around 2025 to 2026.


In 2027-2028, renovations to Walker Hall are scheduled to begin. The upgrades will include updates to the aged building systems, bringing the Department of Information Technology Services under one roof, providing efficient areas for computer repair, web development, software installation, general use classrooms, computer labs and IT infrastructure. The building was originally constructed in 1935.


Dec 2, 2021