Virginia Tech's popular Marching Virginians has more than just its 40th season of existence to celebrate this fall. This week the University's governing Board of Visitors gave a key approval to phase one of a project for a new storage and practice facility on top of Chicken Hill, overlooking Lane Stadium.
"You get to be with 330 of your best friends every day and we get to be the spirit of Tech," said Katie Plummer, a VT senior who plays the clarinet.
"You can see behind us we have track and baseball stuff, where we took half of their bunk and stored all our instruments," said Matt Bollinger as he gave us a tour of the small storage space they share.
The practice field is a grass field, an area also used by the track team and exposed to the elements.
"It makes things interesting sometimes, especially with the weather. Rain or snow we're out there practicing," said Plummer.
But now construction has started on a new covered, turf practice facility with lights and a storage area.
"It's long overdue, they've been needing this facility for a long time," said Tom Gabbard, the VT Associate Athletic Director for Internal Affairs.
The facility will be paid for by the Department of Athletics, recreational sports and donations.
"I think the key moment was when everyone here decided it was important to support the Marching Virginians and to talk to other people on campus to build a community of support," said David McKee, the Marching Virginians director.
The project is expected to cost just under $5 million but they hope it will grow in the future to a larger, $14 million dream complex.
For now, students are excited about a permanent home.
"It gives us a place at the university, not just as the marching band that gets to sit at the north end zone, but that we are an important part of what we do every game day and we are an important part of the university," said Plummer.
An event that brought thousands of people to Salem this year is coming back next year. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. for the Blue Ridge Music Festival.