Radford University Innovation Center Celebrates Project Milestone

By Eric Althoff

RADFORD, Va.—Swedish design-build firm Skanska and architect Hord Coplan Macht, based in Baltimore, indeed have reason to celebrate at Radford University, located in the southwestern portion of the Old Dominion.

The two firms joined with personnel from Radford for a topping-out ceremony, held this summer, for the Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity Project, or CAIC, an interdisciplinary educational facility that is the largest capital construction project at Radford ever in terms of both cost and space. The 178,000-square-foot structure is replacing the current College of Visual and Performing Arts.

The CAIC will be home to courses in technology, health sciences and the arts across a cross-curricular environment. In addition to traditional classrooms, the CAIC will host fashion and design labs, arts studios, a photography studio and darkroom, dance studios, offices, administrative spaces as well as collaborative areas. Furthermore, the CAIC will be the home of a new 500-seat performing arts space for all manner of events.

According to the design specifications from architect Hord Coplan Macht, the CAIC will be anchored by a central performance hub and cafeteria space that is meant to foster gatherings.  Multiple classrooms with large windows located along this central axis will allow visitors to observe learning happening in real time.

Materials used throughout the CAIC as part of the designer’s modern motif include operable partitions and interior glazing. Barn doors stand in as a literal representation of removing the “barriers” that might exist between various learning disciplines. Hord Coplan Macht, the architect, claims that the CAIC will be a center not only of innovative learning but also a hub for the entire campus.

“Radford University is excited about the transformational educational opportunities this new facility will provide our students with an innovative approach to visual and performing arts and health education through interdisciplinary research,” Stephanie Jennelle, interim vice president for finance and administration at Radford University, said during the groundbreaking ceremony.

Added Greg Peele, executive vice president responsible for Skanska’s North Carolina and Virginia building operations: “The new Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity will offer modern classrooms and other spaces to welcome and inspire students, faculty, and staff at Radford University for generations to come.”

At the topping-out event, representatives of all three entities signed the ceremonial top steel beam. Under the project’s current timeline, the CAIC will be finished by the end of 2023.

Skanska, which has been in business for over 135 years, has grown into one of the largest construction and development firms in the world, with satellite offices in Scandinavia, Europe and the United States.