EVMS Waitzer Hall Enhances Healthcare in the Hampton Roads Region

This resilient addition to campus supports the next generation of medical professionals

October 05, 2021

On the Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) campus sits the latest addition—an 11-story education and academic administration building called Waitzer Hall. This signature project provides classroom space for first- and second-year medical students and supports the school through education, research, and patient care as they continue to play a key role in developing the next generation of medical and health professionals in the region. As a teaming partner to RRMM Architects and EYP Architecture & Engineering, VHB provided integrated civil engineering, landscape architecture, and surveying services to support this resilient and sustainable structure.

Waitzer Hall’s front facade at the entrance of the Eastern Virginia Medical Center campus Architectural detail of Waitzer Hall’s 11-story tower Waitzer Hall’s three-story podium with the Eastern Virginia Medical Center campus sign

Located at the bustling intersection of Colley Avenue and Brambleton Avenue, Waitzer Hall sits at the entrance of the Eastern Virginia Medical Center (EVMC) campus that includes the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD) and Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. The building’s prominent location serves as the gateway to the medical campus, welcoming visitors with a community plaza that will house local artwork in the future. The 138,000-square-foot building contains classrooms, student testing stations, an auditorium, offices, conference rooms, numerous common areas, a wellness center, and parking garage at its center. The main entrance of Waitzer Hall includes an outdoor space and terrace to encourage socializing, eating, and studying amongst students, and pedestrian enhancements to provide safe access to The Tide Light Rail Station across the street.

As part of the low-lying coastal community of Norfolk, the building’s location adjacent to the Elizabeth River makes it susceptible to flooding during heavy rainfall events and hurricanes. To mitigate the risk and align with the city’s floodplain ordinance requirements that were revised in 2018, the building and surrounding site were built at a higher elevation. Additional resiliency efforts included the selection of salt-tolerant and native species within the landscape design and incorporating plazas and outdoor common areas to meet the open space requirements. VHB also designed the bioretention area at the front of the building to remove a wide range of pollutants from stormwater runoff.

“When EVMS was first established in 1973, it was due to a shortage of physicians within the region and desire to improve healthcare offerings,” said Myrina Gaglione, Project Manager for VHB. “Since then, EVMS has expanded to offer first-rate education and specialty training, biomedical research, and patient-centered care. As our communities continue to feel the growing need for healthcare workers, coupled with impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the addition of Waitzer Hall is providing a much-needed space to train and educate our future physicians and health professionals, while meeting the need to strengthen this workforce within the region.”

In addition to Waitzer Hall, VHB is actively working in Norfolk on several revitalization projects aimed to strengthen and maximize community assets. Projects include the CHKD Mental Health Hospital on EVMC’s campus, which is currently under construction; the new HeadWaters Resort & Casino; Gravity, the new luxury apartments to be constructed near the Waterside District; and Tidewater Gardens redevelopment that will include new housing and infrastructure upgrades when complete. VHB also provided environmental and transportation services for the recently complete Ohio Creek Watershed project that involved a living shoreline restoration and infrastructure upgrades in the Chesterfield Heights and Granby Village neighborhoods.

VHB understands the inherent challenges in the healthcare environment and engages in developing innovative design solutions using an iterative and collaborative process. Visit the Healthcare page on our website to learn more about our services, clients, and experience.