WINCHESTER, Va — Shenandoah University chose Veterans Day 2022 to honor our service people and officially introduce the HIVE (Hub for Innovators, Veterans and Entrepreneurs) during a groundbreaking celebration at the former National Guard Armory building that is now being repurposed into a future-focused technology hub, innovation accelerator, and magnet location for tech business startup, expansion, and relocation.
Among those present at the event were a 98-year-old WWII veteran who had shipped out from the Armory building for the D-Day Invasion of Normandy as part of the Virginia Army National Guard 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, who departed for France on June 6, 1944.
Purple Heart recipient Leon Pope, a 1943 grad of Handley High School, survived D-Day but was hit in the head by shrapnel in France in July 1944 and shot in the leg in August 1944.
Honored at the ceremony alongside Pope was Logan Williams, an SU psychology student who is also an Army infantry veteran who served three tours in Afghanistan before medically retiring as a staff sergeant in 2021.
Williams says the HIVE concept inspires him. 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 design features open, flexible spaces with glass cubicles to encourage collaboration and preserve the building’s architecture and historic elements. The architect for the project is ESa, based in Nashville, Tennessee, and the general contractor is Virginia-based Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc.
The armory building was constructed in 1940 and remained the headquarters for the 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment until 2009 when the Cherry-Beasley Readiness Center was built in Frederick County.
Shenandoah acquired the property as the National Guard prepared for its move to the new headquarters. In addition to its military purpose, the building has also previously served as the site for 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.
Shenandoah University’s HIVE project will offer services in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Winchester, the counties of Frederick and Clarke, and local educational entities like Laurel Ridge Community College and the Emil and Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center (part of the Winchester City Public Schools), as well as other local organizations and private investors.
Williams says he believes the HIVE project will inspire future creativity, thought, and problem-solving for both veterans and the community.
image courtesy Shenandoah University