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Holden Hall

Holden Hall windows
A reimagined Holden Hall is set to open in March. Photo by Tonia Moxley for Virginia Tech.

With 102,000 square feet of new and renovated space, the reimagined Holden Hall includes high-tech laboratories for mining and minerals research, new computational spaces for transdisciplinary collaboration, and three new 50-seat classrooms equipped with the latest A/V capabilities.

Home of Virginia Tech's Mining and Minerals Engineering Department since 1940, Holden will spring into the future with cutting-edge research in the 1,281-square-foot Center for Autonomous Mining, nicknamed #vtmockmine.

There students will experience autonomous mine operations while working with mined commodities, such as high-purity limestone. The top level of the two-story mine will be a glassed-in area where students can learn advanced automation methods.

Other new equipment and lab spaces offer unprecedented education and research opportunities to our students.

Our department is one of only a few in the world to have a TECSCAN-TIMA Scanning Electron Microscope. This mineral-specific SEM will help researchers understand how to more efficiently liberate minerals — including rare earths — from ore; can do environmental characterization down to the nanoscale to help quantify health effects; and can examine geologic sections to explore mechanisms that allow for CO2 sequestration.

Other equipment includes gas recovery and CO2 sequestration analysis machinery and Virginia Tech's largest materials testing system that can quantify the properties of rock and is capable of handling 1,000,000 pounds of load.

Our new labs offer a range of learning and discovery opportunities, including an indoor diesel lab that can capture and characterize particulates and an undergraduate mine design lab that can produce three-dimensional ore body models.