Virginia Tech has operated a university owned quarry since 1869.
The ashlar patterned stone facades (Hokie Stone) used on campus buildings are constructed of native limestone quarried and surfaced by Facilities personnel. The 40-acre quarry provides 80 percent of the stone used in campus construction. To ensure variations in color, the university purchases the remaining 20 percent from a farm in Montgomery County, which is then processed by Facilities personnel at the Quarry.
The Facilities personnel working in the Quarry produce 25 to 50 tons of stone each week to support the supply for new buildings on campus. That’s 2,600 tons per year! A single ton of the stone will cover about 35 square feet on a building. To give some perspective on this, Torgersen Hall and the stone bridge spanning Alumni Mall is composed of about 2,700 tons of stone!
To envision this mass of rock in human terms, each mason can shape about a ton of stone a day. The process used to arrive at that point includes cutting, dressing, and packing the stone. Quarry workers use black powder, a somewhat quieter excavation explosive, to blast Hokie Stone from its mother formation. The properties of this powder produce large, clean cuts of stone, thereby minimizing pulverization into wasted dust. Containing dust and noise is essential since the Quarry is virtually surrounded by residential areas.
To learn more about Hokie Stone, click here.
To purchase Hokie Stone, visit the University Bookstore or click here.