Stormwater Control Garners National Attention

As the oldest state-supported military college in the United States, the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is home to one of the country’s most historic and beautiful campuses, known as a Post in VMI parlance. Nestled among the Blue Ridge Mountains in Lexington, Virginia, VMI is known for its natural surroundings and stunning views. However, those mountain views also bring along several geographic and topographic constraints, which can make it difficult to add new facilities. When VMI planned to add the new Corps Physical Training Facility on Post, it understood the complex challenges faced and the need for creative and stormwater control solutions.


The Corps Physical Training Facility is a state-of-the-art training facility that plays an integral part in fulfilling VMI’s mission to prepare citizen-soldiers for a life of service and leadership. The building houses two indoor tracks as well as other training features such as a high ropes course, climbing wall, and cardio equipment.


One of the biggest challenges with building and designing the new facility was the existing Town Branch creek, which was prone to flooding, and runs beneath the building site. Other design challenges included erosion control phasing during construction to prevent sediment from washing into the creek from the job site, as well as permitting of environmental impacts to the stream.


Building a new facility over a body of water is uncommon because the challenges presented can be overwhelming. The permitting process alone is a daunting test that few wish to undertake. Fortunately, Draper Aden Associates met all the challenges.


Our experienced Regional Site Development and Infrastructure team, led by Carolyn Howard, handled the stormwater and erosion control design for the facility. Because the building was over a body of water, the stormwater needs were exceptions and Draper Aden’s solutions were truly innovative. For example, most new construction projects have one or two stormwater measures. This facility had more than a dozen, including five manufactured BMPs, three bioretention basins, a green roof with vegetation, permeable pavers, an underground cistern to collect runoff and reuse that water in the building, and an underground stormwater retention facility.


The combination of stormwater solutions marked an innovative approach and has garnered significant media attention. A number of industry trade publications have highlighted the project and its stormwater successes, including  Erosion Control Magazine, Civil + Structural Engineer Magazine, and American Infrastructure. We encourage you to learn more about these innovative solutions by reading these articles!