The Rad-Tech Campus
Virginia Tech Branches Out to Radford Ordinance Works
As 1945 rolled over into 1946, Virginia Tech saw its enrollment swell from approximately 500 in the winter quarter, 1945, to approximately 1800 for the spring quarter of 1946. President John Hutcheson reported to the Board of Visitors at its August 13, 1946, meeting that “The office of admissions informs me that by the opening of the fall quarter, we will have at least 3000 students on the campus and in the Blacksburg community, and approximately 500 at the Radford Ordnance Works if adequate facilities can be provided at that point. In addition, we will probably have between 300 and 400 students enrolled in our extension branches.”
A number of those 3000 students were married veterans. The college was working hard to obtain war-surplus trailers to provide on-campus housing for those families. There was also a short-lived plan to obtain demountable houses from the Radford Ordinance Works unit in Dublin, but there wasn't any funding to cover the college's cost to tear down the houses, move them to Blacksburg, and reassemble them on campus. The college cast its eyes on the main portion of the ordinance plant, which had been shuttered at the end of the war.
A contract was worked out with the Federal Public Housing Authority (FPHA) to use three barrack buildings, the recreation building, mess hall, and several support buildings. The buildings had been constructed and used during the war to house employees who worked at the arsenal. The rental of the space was to house 500 single veterans. Hutcheson reported that the “task of developing plans for the management, feeding, recreation and transportation of 500 students 10 or 12 miles from the campus is a tremendous one and under normal circumstances we would not attempt it. However, we feel it our duty to offer educational opportunities to the largest possible number of these young men who risked their all for our country.”
The “branch campus” at the Radford Ordnance Works became known as “Rad-Tech” and it housed mostly freshmen in the barracks buildings (eventually expanded to seven buildings). Most of the instruction took place at “Rad-Tech” but surplus buses obtained from the Navy provided transportation between Rad-Tech and the Blacksburg campus. The arrangement was in place until the end of the 1949 fall quarter, when Femoyer, Monteith, and Thomas dormitories were completed and occupied in the winter of 1950.
In a May 20, 1946, letter to Dr. Hutcheson, John P. Broome, a regional director with the Federal Public Housing Authority, wrote that “A casual inspection of the barracks buildings under consideration indicates that very little work is necessary by FPHA to complete the several buildings for dormitory use. This is true because the barracks in their present state are designed for single and double room occupancy with appropriate toilet and shower facilities. Such heating plants necessary to restore heating facilities for the barracks will be moved in by FPHA from other sources and reset and connected ready for operation.” Heat later became a problem.
The college eventually gained use of six support buildings, to include the Corps of Engineers Office, the Recreation building, the Mess Hall along with small Food Storage and Cold Storage buildings, and the Stores and office building. Students were housed in two one-story barracks and five two-story barracks. An adjacent field was available for drill and recreation and eventually tennis courts were put in place.
In a July letter, Stuart Cassell let the FPHA know that there was some urgency involved in making the facilities available. “We will need to have these facilities completed in less than two (2) months. While the buildings are generally complete, there is much work to be done of a repair nature and installing and repairing the utilities. Unless this is gotten under way immediately, I fear that it will not be completed in time to be occupied by the students. We have already admitted approximately 500 students to occupy these facilities.”
In September, plans were nearing completion for the operation of the branch campus. Buildings had been inspected, furnishings inventoried, and seven surplus buses were obtained from Ft. Bragg, North Carola, and eight buses obtained from the Naval Mine Depot at Yorktown, Virginia. The buses would provide transportation between Rad-Tech and Blacksburg, offering service every half hour. The buses also ran to other communities in the evening, making it easy for Rad-Tech residents to reach nearby Radford College, at the time still all female.
On September 17, 1946, Cassell wrote to several department heads about preparation for the opening of the fall quarter:
It will expedite certain phases of the organization if you will advise me which members of your department have been assigned to the instructional program at the Radford Ordnance Works. I will also appreciate it if you will advise as to which of these staff members will spend the entire day at this location.
If any of these staff members are single men, and you think might be interested in living in the dormitories with the students and acting as sort of advisers to the veterans for a short space of time, I will appreciate your having such individuals get in touch with me.
One enticement to travel from campus was the ability to eat lunch in the cafeteria. “Present indications are that the cost of lunch will be thirty-five cents.”
On Tuesday, October 1, 1946, fall quarter classes started on the campus in Blacksburg and at Rad-Tech.
The Virginia Tech reported on the opening of the quarter and status of Rad-Tech in its October 11 edition.
Radford Ordinance Works has been converted to peace-time use as a branch of VPI to help solve the drastic shortage of educational opportunities for returning veterans. Colonel G. G. Dickinson operates the branch as the representative of the administration.
Approximately 460 veterans are housed at the Radford division. All are freshmen, though not necessarily first quarter students. Wherever possible, classes are held in the Radford classrooms with Dr. Walter S. Newman, vice-president of VPI, in charge of instruction. However, about 130 students are brought to the main campus for classes.
The barracks have been uncomfortable without heat or water, but the situation is being remedied as quickly as possible. As a whole, the rooms are in excellent condition and more modern than some on the Blacksburg campus. Thus far only two men have been assigned to each room.
A cafeteria serves the new campus and the comments on the food have been favorable. Mr. Christiansen, who has been in the food serving business for a number of years, manages the cafeteria.
The YMCA, which is in charge of recreation, provides a reading room with magazines and newspapers similar to the one on the main campus. A piano is on its way. As soon as construction of a student activities building is completed, movies will be shown at night.
Attempts were made to include the Rad-Tech students in main campus life as much as possible. The Virginia Tech article continued:
The college furnishes about ten buses for transportation. Buses run into all the surrounding communities in the evening and to church on Sunday morning. Transportation is also provided to the football games and other college activities which the students wish to attend.
Boys living at Radford are forming their own touch football teams which will join in the regular intramural program, competing for winning honors with civilian and cadet barracks on campus.
A later addition was a bowling team that competed on campus and basketball teams that competed with other college teams and some local teams.
Because the ordinance works had been shut down at the end of the war, much of the furnishings and equipment had been removed. In July, Cassell was asking the FPHA for surplus furniture. The need was for “an additional 225 chairs, 184 tables approximately 36” x 36” and 137 tables approximately 30” x 34” to furnish dormitories Radford Ordnance Works.” In September, he asked the commanding officer of the arsenal if he would “transfer 3,000 feet of 2-1/4 inch pine flooring to us to be used in installing the floor in the recreation building where the bowling alleys have been removed.” Also in July, Cassell reported to the FPHA that the arsenal had been reopened to produce ammonium nitrate for fertilizer. “I believe that there is a possibility of our being able to tie into the central heating system, thus making it unnecessary to install the individual boilers for the barracks.” This didn't happen and boilers were brought in from the New River Ordnance plant in Dublin.
The heat and water issues were mentioned by J. R. Abbitt, Director of Buildings and Grounds, in a letter to Cassell. He mentioned problems with the contractor (the same one he complained about not doing a good job with the trailer parks on campus) not completing work on the plumbing and heating systems in the barracks. Boilers had been brought in from elsewhere but not properly installed. The college did some makeshift work to provide heat using the boiler in one barracks to provide steam for another. This helped but didn't totally solve the problem.
In January 1947, “Hercules Blasts” appeared in The Virginia Tech “as a weekly feature to keep the 400-odd Rad-Tech students abreast of the activities of their campus and to inform the rest of us of the progress and the development of this latest addition to VPI.” The first Blast reported on a meeting with the senate and campus officials.
Radford Senate met today with Mr. Al Payne, assistant secretary of the YMCA, Mr. E. J. Shiflet, civilian student advisor, and Mr. Pierce, the new recreational director, to discuss Rad-Tech problems. The three men pledge their utmost help in the solution of Rad-Tech problems. Recent Senate accomplishments include the procurement of 400 chairs for the Recreational Building, and the participation of Rad-Tech in the VPI intramural sports program. The Senate hopes that Rad-Tech students will show their support of Mr. Pierce by coming out in large numbers for the various sports. Mr. Payne said that he would do his best to get reading material and light recreational facilities for Rad-Tech.
As that first year of Rad-Tech came to a close, Col. Thomas W. Munford, Commandant of the Corps of Cadets, reflected on what had transpired in the 1948 Bugle. He said in part
The required assignment of the Second Battalion to Rad-Tech barracks introduced an unprecedented departure and a real challenge to the cadets assigned to this campus. Cadet leaders have risen to this challenge and have by their efforts overcome obstacles and solved problems with apparent ease. Many of these problems have been major ones in nature, but all have been solved. This is a tribute to the resourcefulness and fidelity of all members of the Second Battalion.
In the May 30, 1947, edition of The Virginia Tech, Scooter Huller in a Hercules Blast reflected on the school year past at Rad-Tech.
As we round out the first year at Rad-Tech it becomes increasingly clear that it could have been worse. The nature of the project lent itself to many uncertainties in the beginning, and it is well to remember that this was an entirely new and different venture for VPI officials. In the beginning it was recognized that this was not to be another extension of the institute, but rather an extension of the main cam- pus, the main link being interchange of professors and a chain of buses. In order further to insure this unity, supervision of instruction and administration has been directly from department heads on the main campus. While this unity has been threatened on some few occasions, the objective generally has been met.
Such a new venture was begun with a degree of uncertainty as to the nature and extent of problems which might arise. Most of these reared their ugly heads in the first months of the project. Heating, bus schedules, feeding and recreational facilities furnished some of the major problems. Solution of many of these came with experience, but some of the recognized needs have not been met during this first session. The lack of furniture for desirable reading and lounging rooms has probably been the cause of more disappointment than anything else. In the classroom building, fumes from the laboratories have been the cause of much unpleasantness. A public address system would be a great asset to the annex.
On the other hand, perhaps greatest satisfaction has come with improvement of other recreational facilities. Completion of five tennis courts, two softball fields and providing of horseshoe pitching and basketball equipment have furnished opportunity for varying athletic tastes. Adequate supervision of the athletic program has been provided.
As the year advanced, bus schedules have been improved. In many instances, variations have been allowed for accommodation of the greatest possible number of students who desired to attend special meetings and to participate in campus activities.
Looking to the future, it seems reasonable to expect adequate reading room facilities by early fall. Present plans call for approximately 900 students at Rad-Tech at that time, part of whom will be Cadets. Arrangements have been made for providing adequate room for that number, and details are being worked out for the most satisfactory method of housing, feeding, and instruction to be followed. As in the past, each problem will be approached with a two-fold objective: To attempt wise administration, and to keep in mind the welfare of the students lodged at Rad-Tech.
Even as the early problems were being worked out, plans were already in the works for the next year. Cassell, in a letter to Charles Levy with the FPHA in November 1946, raised the possibility of housing some non-veterans in the dormitories at Rad-Tech. The initial agreement only allowed veterans to be housed, but Cassell was looking at a contract clause that would allow “40% of the accommodations to house non-veterans provided we are furnishing housing to an equal number of veterans in other accommodations belonging to the college.” The thought was to “place more non-veterans at the Radford Arsenal so at to make additional facilities available on the campus for veterans. With the limited facilities at the Radford Arsenal we are practically compelled to limit the enrollment at that location to freshmen enrolled in certain curricula.”
The contract details were worked out and the May 30 edition of The Virginia Tech announced the details of the coming fall semester of 1947:
Climaxing one of the most hotly-debated questions of the year here at Tech, Colonel Thomas W. Munford, Commandant of Cadets, recently announced that the engineer battalion of next year's corps would be quartered at Rad-Tech during the 1947-48 session.
According to a statement issued by the commandant, the cadet enrollment for next year will be approximately 1450. About 650 of these cadets will be freshmen.
The corps will be organized into a regiment, consisting of three battalions, which, in turn, will be composed of a total of ten companies. Four new units are being formed, including F, S, I, and O. Another innovation will be the organization of a drum and bugle corps from approximately twenty-six members of the band. One of its functions will be to aid the engineer battalion during drill parades at Rad-Tech. It will also be prominent at football games this fall.
The engineer battalion, which will be quartered at Rad-Tech in Barracks 5, 6, and 7, will consist of two engineer companies, E and F, and one signal-ordinance unit, Company O.
This plan generated much interest and concern. In the same edition of The Virginia Tech, Dr. Walter S. Newman, acting president of the college, and Colonel Thomas W. Munford, commandant of cadets, issued the following statement:
“As the situation of the enrollment for the session 1947-48 was studied, it became apparent that all of the civilian dormitories on the main campus would be filled by men now occupying rooms, transfers from extensions and the Radford Ordinance Works and former VPI men returning from the service. With the same dormitories being allotted to the Cadet Corps as were assigned during the current session, it became evident that only about 150 to 200 freshmen could be admitted in the space assigned. The Board of Visitors determined that 1000 freshmen were all that could be admitted, and in order to be fair this quota should be divided equally between Cadets and veteran freshmen. The applications to date indicate that there will be about 650 Cadet freshmen who meet the new requirements for admission and about 350 veteran freshmen. It appeared logical to notify all of these entering freshmen that it might be necessary for most of them to live at the Radford Ordinance Works, and this has been done. Under the Cadet Corps system it is naturally necessary for certain upperclassmen to be assigned to the same units and companies as freshmen in order that they may be the leaders and teachers of the freshmen, and at the same time develop those qualities of leadership so essential for success in military endeavor as well as civilian life. Under this custom and practice, therefore, it appears unavoidable that certain upperclassmen be assigned to the Radford Ordnance Works along with the component of freshmen cadets who cannot be accommodated in the cadet quarters on the main campus. In our estimation, this constitutes a challenge to the Cadet officers and upperclassmen, and we feel that the challenge will be met.”
When classes resumed that fall, The Virginia Tech reported in the September 26, 1947, edition about the orientation program, both on campus and at Rad-Tech.
Daily orientation programs were presented at Rad-Tech and on the campus. This insured as much individual attention as possible, and eliminated wasted time in bringing Rad-Tech students to the campus. This was also in line with the college's policy of having all programs for Rad-Tech students on their own campus.
On the first day, Wednesday, September 17, “all new students registered and were given barracks and room assignments. Those students who were assigned to Rad-Tech were issued uniforms at the Military Building before proceeding to their campus.” That evening, a mixer was held on campus and in the Recreation Building at Rad-Tech.
On Thursday, aptitude and vocational interest tests were given to students, along with other activities. “That night, the president’s hour was held; Walter S. Newman, president of VPI, spoke on the campus and then at Rad-Tech.” Testing of cadets continued on Friday while the small group of civilian students who were housed at Rad-Tech met in the Recreation Building. That evening, “cadets met with officers of the cadet student government, and civilian students met with their dormitory groups.” The spiritual was not forgotten on Sunday, “Transportation was furnished for all Rad-Tech students who desired to attend services in Radford, and vesper services were held at four o'clock by the YMCA.”
As the college settled into the new academic year, The Virginia Tech of October 10, 1947, had a glowing report about Rad-Tech and life at the remote campus.
ROW's Battalion Claims Advantages
Do Exist In Their Temporary Site
Although the Military Department will deny it, and if you ask Mr. Creasy all the questions in the world and still received no answer, it seems that the Corps has been increased by one battalion. Strange as it may seem, everyone on the campus knows the exact location of battalion, for all you have to do to get there is to take the shuttle bus or hitch a ride. If you are more fortunate, drive over in your car, and there in front of you is Rad-Tech, its present home.
This battalion is composed of three companies: E, F, and O; E and F are engineer companies, and O, and ordnance company. The Battalion Commander is H. M. Mandel; Supply Officer is H. F. Besosa; Battalion Adjutant, C. B. Gerhardt. The three companies are under the following captains, N. H. Triner, E; M. L. Cooper, F; and J. M. Critcher, O. Acting as Assistant to the Commandant of Cadets at Rad-Tech is Major L. H. Clark, Signal Corps, assisted by several other officers from the Military Department.
To take care of over 400 men in the battalion, a complete line of physical facilities has been installed. Included in the compact area of Rad-Tech are the administrative offices, a complete postoffice, (for freshmen only), a pick-up laundry service, a mess hall, a miniature of the Tech Book Store, and some of the finest athletic facilities that could be desired.
For the freshmen at Rad-Tech few things are needed which cannot be obtained on the premises, and that includes books, supplies, and all the other little miscellaneous comforts go to make up college life. But should it become necessary for them to go to the main campus – well, that's been provided for too. All you have to do is turn up in front of the mess hall on the half hour and there is a shuttle bus provided for transportation to Blacksburg. The same system is in effect on the main campus, the buses leaving every hour on the hour.
Most of the freshman classes are held Rad-Tech. However, for the upperclassmen it is a slightly different story. All of their classes and books and even mail is available only on the main campus, so all of them have, by necessity, joined the ranks of the commuters to the main campus.
The Mess Hall, the crux of many of vital and heated debate on the main campus, here seems to have an almost undeserved reputation. Owing to the smaller number of meals served it seems that the same ingredients which appear as culinary mistakes on the main campus, here appear as wholesome rations. The ancient and honorable custom of seconds has been abolished but the generous portions of food which are served cafeteria style in attractive plastic trays obviates any complaints on that score.
If you care for the muscular sports afforded by the athletic department at Rad-Tech, you can try ping pong, basketball, football, wrestling, and all the other forms of working yourself into a sweat. All the facilities for a fine sports program are here in a very fine Recreation Hall. Included in the Rec Hall is a very nice lounge, equipped with a good radio and some comfortable chairs.
Part of the Recreation Hall, formerly occupied by the Bowling Alleys, is serving as auditorium, and on the ceiling the admonitions familiar to all bowlers may still be seen.
Since the Rad-Tech campus was taken over from the ordnance works without any changes, some very unintentional jokes have arisen. For instance, one of the barracks still bears an imposing sign, “Women's Barracks,” and at the front door is another little sign which reads, “Please ring the bell before entering.” Other odd signs include the one which reads, “Please use the main entrance after midnight.”
Although Rad-Tech is somewhat isolated, some place to go is afforded by the fact that both Radford and Blacksburg are within limits for the cadets. In fact the old system used on the main campus has been discarded, and the old rule of five miles from the flagpole has been discarded for a new limit of twenty miles from the flagpole. Now the cadets can always date the girls of their choice at either the dorm on the main campus or one at the State Teachers College in Radford.”
The 1947-48 school year wrapped up with a view that Rad-Tech would continue to exist. However, college officials were looking for a solution to the growth in enrollment, for both classrooms and housing. In a January 27, 1948, statement to the Joint Meeting of Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees of the Virginia General Assembly the administration made its case for more funds. The statement was in response to state budget recommendations that showed “certain major problems confronting the Virginia Polytechnic Institute during the next biennium.” One of the problems was the proposed operating fund was making it difficult to provide for the 4,800 students who had been admitted. Engineering facilities were inadequate to meet accreditation standards, as was the library.
Housing was a big issue. The trailer camps on campus took care of married veterans and extension campuses with two-year programs in Norfolk, Richmond, and Danville eased the pressure on the Blacksburg campus. There was still a problem, though, as about half the rooms in the dorms had three persons per room.
Rad-Tech was also mentioned, “This was a justified venture as an emergency device. Our lease on this property, however, is an annual one and can be terminated on 30 days’ notice. It is expensive to operate and the transportation of students to the main campus is a hazardous one under winter conditions and this facility should be abandoned.”
This laid the groundwork for a request for funding for additional campus dormitories “to take care of 766 students. The estimated cost, as of August 1947, of such new dormitories is $1,205,000.”
The college was able to negotiate construction of three new dormitories on the Upper Quad to ease the housing shortage although it would be a few years before they were available.
The housing solution wasn't imminent, so plans were made to continue Rad-Tech for the 1948-49 school year. This met with some unhappiness from the Commandant, who asked that there be a better solution to transport the battalion from the remote campus to the main campus for drill and other events.
On June 30, 1948, he wrote to Cassell about the problems of having a battalion separated from the main part of the corps. Based on the plans of the administration, “it is estimated that approximately 700 cadets will be located at Rad-Tech next fall.” If more housing was available on campus, Munford said it might be possible to locate one less cadet company at Rad-Tech, but this would still leave 550 cadets there. The reduced numbers would still cause transportation problems.
“I received more complaints from our cadet leaders at Rad-Tech on this subject last year than all other subjects put together,” Munford wrote. He wanted a reasonable solution to the problem for several reasons. “I further feel that the most important element to be satisfied is that of making every cadet located at Rad-Tech feel that he is a full time and integral part of the V.P.I. Corps of Cadets. Furthermore, it will not be possible to maintain a cadet battalion state of training on a par equal to that of cadets located on the main campus unless we have a means to consolidate the entire Cadet Corps on the main campus for rehearsal of formal ceremonies and occasions for public appearance of the Corps of Cadets as a complete unit.”
On July 23, Cassell replied that the matter had been discussed in a conference in Dr. Newman's office, so required no further comment.
The 1948-49 academic year was the third year of operation at Rad-Tech, still operating at capacity with 826 beds in use in the barracks. With two years of experience in operating the branch campus, things settled into a routine.
The Virginia Tech in the October 8, 1948, edition reported on a dance at the Radford Ordinance Works.
Rad-Tech will open its series of social events for the Fall Quarter on Saturday night with a dance, sponsored by the Rad-Tech student body in conjunction with the YMCA.
Music will be furnished by the VPI Cavaliers, and the dance will last from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00.
This dance will be the first in a number of social events which are being planned for the students at ROW. Every possible means is being exerted to carry out a recreational program at Rad-Tech which will be equal to that one which is in progress on the Main Campus.
The freshman class at Radford College has been issued invitations. A list of girls was secured and posted in the Recreation Hall. This list contained a description of each girl, and from these descriptions the boys selected their dates.
The dance committee, headed by R. L. Miller, has made detailed plans.
Members of the VPI faculty and the Cadet Regimental, Battalion, and Company Commanders from the Main Campus have been issued invitations to the dance.
The 1949-50 academic year started off with Rad-Tech but at reduced capacity. The end was in sight as three new dormitories were nearing completion. The college set notice to the Radford Arsenal and the FPHA that it was terminating its lease as of December 31, 1949. The number of dormitories was cut back to three to house 518 cadets. There were 353 freshmen filling four companies, supplemented by 166 upperclassmen to provide leadership.
As the time to move approached, four pages of detailed instructions were generated to make the transition as smooth as possible. They listed what cadets should do to prepare for the move.
PROCEDURE PRIOR TO 18 DECEMBER 1949:
A.. All personnel will pack and tag all equipment to be moved.
(1) Tag will include name of owner, new barracks
letter name and new room number so that no packing will be required on return after the holidays.
When the initial planning was in process, the 1st Battalion Staff and four companies were to be housed in new barracks A and B. In the interim, the new dormitories were named for alumni who had served with distinction in the military. Barracks A became Monteith Hall and Barracks B became Thomas Hall. Femoyer Hall was the third dormitory built to accommodate the growing enrollment.
Given that it was the Corps of Cadets that was being moved, the process was laid out with military precision.
TRANSPORTATION AVAILABLE FOR USE:
a. All busses assigned “Rad-Tech” Campus.
b. Three Army trucks.
c. Five trucks furnished by college authorities.
d. Schedule announced in paragraph 5 below.
e. Trucks will be used only for transporting heavy baggage and equipment.
f. Busses will transport individuals and hand baggage. Personnel are directed to carry on busses any hand baggage or small items to relieve burden on trucks.
a. Each company will furnish the following details as soon as practicable on 3 January 1950 and will continue them until the move is completed.
(1) 10 Men: MOVING DETAIL (ROW). To move equipment from hallways to truck loading area. (See paragraph 9c below).
(2) 6 Men: LOADING DETAIL (ROW). To load trucks at loading area. These men to aid moving detail when. not loading trucks.
(3) 6 Men: UNLOADING DETAIL (Main Campus). To unload trucks at unloading area. These men to assist moving detail when not unloading trucks.
(4) 10 Men: MOVING DETAIL (Main Campus). To move equipment from unloading area directly into cadet rooms.
b. Two trucks will be assigned to each company at 0900, 3 Jan and will remain assigned as long as they are used.
c. Trucks must be loaded and unloaded with dispatch to permit their reuse for continuous hauling.
d. Immediately after, or prior to, registration, cadets desiring their equipment moved to the Main Campus are to place it in the hallways of barracks where it may be picked up by the moving detail. The moving detail will not remove any items from rooms.
e. After cadets arrive at new barracks they will deposit in their assigned rooms the equipment they carried on the bus and then will report immediately to the Cadet company officer in charge of the company. Failure to do this will constitute a military delinquency.
The school year wrapped up that spring with the Corps of Cadets once again intact, with no need to consider how to move one large group to join with the main body for drill, parades, and other activities.
Fertilizer production at the Radford Ordinance Works ended in April 1949. The plant was not idle for long, as it was reactivated to produce powder and ammunition with the onset of the Korean War. Operations have been up and down but have been continuous since the 1950s. The area that made up Rad-Tech still exists with some of the buildings still in use. Several of the barracks have been demolished but their footprint is still visible in images of the plant.
While at times problematic, the use of the Radford Ordinance Works as a satellite campus allowed the Corps of Cadets to re-establish the balance of seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen that was badly tilted due to the war. Col. Thomas W. Munford, Commandant of the corps, wrote in the 1950 Bugle that this balance “made it possible to effect a complete restoration of former traditions for the four academic classes and to provide developed leadership.”
In that same Bugle, Atlee H. Bussey, Lt. Col. and leader of the First Battalion, summed up the impact of the separation to a different location. “The large number of freshmen, in addition to the remote location, gave both the officers and non-coms a sense of increased responsibility. Through the efforts of all, unity, cooperation, and Esprit de Corps were attained to a degree equaled by few units.” He pointed out what the move back to the main campus meant, with “an end to the bus rides on the Yellow Perils. The grey barracks of Happy Valley were vacated as the First Battalion migrated to Blacksburg and joined the remainder of the Corps.”
Bussey's final remarks listed the positive impact of the time at Rad-Tech. “But the bonds of comradeship and interdependence which were formed at Rad-Tech will always be with us to inspire us toward new goals and achievements at our new location, the Main Campus.”