Shenandoah University is set to formally introduce the HIVE (Hub for Innovators, Veterans and Entrepreneurs) during a groundbreaking celebration on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. in front of the former National Guard armory building on Shenandoah’s main campus in Winchester that will serve as the future home of the HIVE. Preliminary work has begun on the historic 80-year-old building and the first two phases of the four-phase project are expected to be completed in August 2023. The third phase has an anticipated completion date of August 2024, while the completion date of the fourth and final phase is contingent upon funding.
The groundbreaking ceremony will include remarks from Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.; Provost Cameron McCoy, Ph.D.; Montressa Washington, Ph.D., co-director of Shenandoah’s Institute for Entrepreneurship; Mohammad Obeid, Ph.D., director of SU’s virtual reality program; student Logan Williams ’25, president of Shenandoah Veterans and Supporters (SVS); Shenandoah University Board of Trustees Chair Mike Perry; and Winchester Mayor John David Smith Jr. Additionally, the event will feature a musical performance by Shenandoah students and a chance to take an interactive virtual tour of the HIVE using augmented reality/virtual reality technology. Light refreshments will be provided.
Students from Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Virginia, will present the colors.
Members of the Warrior GMR Foundation and Gold Star Gamers will be recognized as part of the celebration. Both organizations will be on SU’s main campus for an esports event – the Warrior GMR Veterans Day Valorant Invitational and Smash Bros Open – that will feature over 60 total players and will begin immediately following the HIVE groundbreaking. The esports event, in which SU’s varsity esports team will also compete, will take place in Shenandoah’s Esports Arena, located next to the HIVE, and nearby Halpin-Harrison Hall.
These aren’t the only veteran-related events occurring on campus during the week of Veterans Day. On Thursday, Nov. 10, Shenandoah will host a free public screening of the film “HERE. IS. BETTER.” at 5 p.m. in Halpin-Harrison Hall, Stimpson Auditorium. “HERE. IS. BETTER.” is a documentary film with unprecedented access inside trauma therapy sessions delivering hope to veterans battling posttraumatic stress disorder. The screening begins with hors d’oeuvres at 4:30 p.m. and includes a post-film Q&A panel discussion and dinner buffet. Panelists will include “HERE. IS. BETTER” Executive Producer William F. Brandt Jr., a former trustee of Shenandoah University; Laurel Ridge Community College Development Officer and Panel Moderator Andy Gyurisin; Shenandoah University Professor of Occupational Therapy Crystal Barchacky; and SU student and veteran Eric Gyamfi ’24.
When complete, the HIVE will transform the former armory into a future-focused and boundary-breaking technology hub, innovation accelerator and magnet location for tech business startup, expansion and relocation.
The armory building was constructed in 1940 and remained the headquarters for the Virginia Army National Guard 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment until 2009, when the Cherry-Beasley Readiness Center was built in Frederick County. The 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment set out from the former armory for the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.
Shenandoah acquired the property as the National Guard prepared for its move to the new headquarters.
In addition to its military purpose, the building also served as the site for many community events, including dances, county fair events and performances by musical acts, including Winchester-area native Patsy Cline in the early days of her career.
To celebrate and preserve the building’s history and its connection to the Winchester community, Shenandoah is collecting memories of the former armory from community members. Share your memories – and photographs – using the submission form available at su.edu/hive or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.