BLACKSBURG, Va. -

Blacksburg officials are hoping Virginia Tech's new Center for the Arts will spur arts-related growth in the downtown area.

The $100 million center's public grand opening is set for Friday.

Downtown Blacksburg Inc. director Laureen Blakemore tells The Roanoke Times that the arts center will draw more, and different, visitors to the town than Virginia Tech football games draw.

The town council has taken several steps to prepare for the center's opening. They include speeding up road and sidewalk improvements and changing downtown zoning to allow artists to open commercial studios at their homes.