The Hub for Innovators, Veterans and Entrepreneurs (HIVE) is a dynamic adaptive-reuse project, breathing new life into the historic military armory in Winchester, Virginia. Our design team is currently engaged in revitalizing this existing structure, which includes a two-story armory and a training gymnasium. Built in 1940, the building served as a training ground for the National Guard from World War 2 until the early 1990s, but also served the community hosting dances, wrestling matches, and performances— including a concert from Patsy Cline.

The renovation project begins with stabilizing the 18,000-square-foot building, with the safe removal of hazardous materials and ensuring a water-tight building through a roof replacement, brick and stone repair, and the installation of historic replacement windows. Through the building’s preservation, this adaptive reuse project pays homage to the past while igniting possibilities for the future through the new student-centered community spaces.

The main gymnasium level now contains incubator and education spaces, such as an immersive learning technology lab, a motion capture lab, maker space, and a connection to the E-Sports arena. In order to maximize the building, the existing gymnasium space now includes a mezzanine level, connected by a monumental and learning stair, that creates additional space for the University’s academic and administrative needs. Concurrently, the two-story armory, located just in front of the gymnasium and contains the historic façade along Millwood Avenue, is being repurposed to serve the Winchester community. This armory building houses a new Veteran’s Center, honoring those who have served this country by providing a community facility with access to counseling, employment help, and other social services.

Outside of the renovation, there is a large addition connected directly to the gymnasium— the “Collaboratory.” This is the signature element of the project as it’s glass form delicately contrasts the masonry-heavy historic building, and its slightly smaller scale is not overpowering to the existing context. The shifting roof planes is a celebration of the regional topography of the area, such as the Shenandoah Valley and the Appalachian Mountains. This Collaboratory serves as the home for the Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning (SCiL), which fosters cross-disciplinary academic endeavors, and also is an intimate event space for 170 people that serves the larger University’s needs.

The project goals are to provide Shenandoah University with an architectural wonder that seamlessly honors Virginia’s Veterans and the local Winchester community, both past and present, to provide dedicated space to students and their academic needs, as well as celebrate the building’s storied past with the University’s commitment to its future students. Through the meticulous restoration of its historic elements and the sophisticated design of the modern Collaboratory, the new HIVE building will stand as a testament to Shenandoah’s enduring legacy, embodying its past, present, and future aspirations.

The completion of the HIVE renovation is anticipated for fall 2024.

A Part of History

The Winchester Armory was built in 1940, and members of the Virginia Army National Guard 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment set out from there for World War II’s allied June 6, 1944, D-Day Invasion. The armory remained the headquarters for the 3rd Battalion until 2009, when it moved to the Cherry-Beasley Readiness Center in Frederick County, Virginia. Over the years, the armory not only housed the guard unit but also the site of a host of community events, including dances and performances by musical acts, including Winchester-area native Patsy Cline in the early days of her career. Shenandoah acquired the site as the National Guard prepared for its move, and has been working toward incorporating this important building into the university experience ever since.