Walter L. Rice Education Building

The Walter L. Rice Education Building, situated on a bluff on historic Route 5 in Charles City County overlooking the James River, houses lecture and laboratory classrooms, a conference room and administrative offices, as well as an outdoor classroom pavilion.

The 4,900-square-foot education building was not only built at the highest level of green building standards, but is operated and maintained at the highest level of green building operations.

The award-winning building became the first LEED Platinum building in Virginia thanks to its array of features: geothermal heating and cooling, solar electrical power generation, sustainable building materials, a vegetated roof, advanced water recycling, rain gardens and landscaping with native species.


It is available as a river-front venue for departmental retreats, classes, academic meetings and other professional, agency or NGO events that are consistent with VCU’s mission. We will consider requests from groups outside of the university community, but please do not submit requests for social or private events such as weddings, receptions and parties.


The center’s conference room, including patios and grounds, is available for day use Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and, by special arrangement, during evening hours. 


Beginning July 1, 2023 the rental cost for weekday uses of the conference facility is $400 per day; an additional fee for evening use may be assessed.  Users will be invoiced after the event and payment may be made by journal voucher (VCU units), credit card or check.


The conference room can accommodate up to 50 persons, supports AV presentations, and has Wi-Fi and Zoom capabilities. There is a small kitchenette with a refrigerator and freezer adjacent to the conference room. Typically, food is catered and delivered or brought on-site. We can provide the names of several providers that are familiar with the facility. In addition to the conference room, there are two adjacent wet labs (each with a 16-person capacity) that may be reserved.


If you are interested in reserving the Education Building, please review our site use policy and then submit your request at the link below.

Reserve this space

Image Gallery

Main Entrance

A circular driveway provides easy drop off/pick up, and an exterior, covered walkway leads to conference and classroom/lab spaces.

front of the walter l. rice education building

Conference Room

A climate-controlled conference room with views of the James River can accommodate up to 75 people. Food is brought on-site or catered and a small food preparation area is available adjacent.

a sunny conference room with lots of windows and a long work table

Conference Room Audio/Visual

The building is Wi-Fi enabled, and includes a podium PC; adapters/connectors for additional PC or Apple products; retractable video screen; wireless presentation and microphone system; remote conferencing capabilities and remote technical support 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

a sunny conference room with a long work table and a large digital screen over a fireplace

Outdoor Patio

An outdoor space that doubles as the main entrance to the conference room provides views of the James River. The patio can be used as additional meeting space, or a place for approved caterers to set up for al fresco dining.

a patio full of people eating at picnic tables in a verdant setting overlooking the james river


Additional outdoor space can be accessed from the patio, or through the doors in the conference room. 

a view of the james river from the education building veranda


Two wetlabs may be reserved.

a modern wetlab with sleek furniture and digital displays on the walls


Up to 75 cars can park in existing spaces and designated areas.

aerial view of the parking lot near the educational building