Board of Visitors advances capital projects at August meeting
August 26, 2019
At the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting Monday in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, board members accepted four design reviews for capital projects.
- Undergraduate Science Laboratory: This project consists of approximately 102,700 square feet of new construction at the intersection of West Campus Drive and Perry Street. The building will provide laboratory and classroom space to support growth in Virginia Tech’s undergraduate science programs. The project is estimated to cost $74.2 million and is the university’s top capital outlay priority.
- Student wellness: This $63 million project will further enhance its wellness offerings through approximately 263,000 square feet of renovation and new construction at War Memorial and McComas halls. The project will improve exercise and recreational sports facilities and improve spaces for the School of Education and the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise.
- Livestock and poultry research facilities (Phase I): This updated project will enhance spaces used by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for its poultry, swine, equine, and beef cattle programs teaching and research programs. Because several existing buildings are beyond their useful life, the $22.5 million project will construct 10 facilities providing 131,200 square feet of newly constructed space located at the Plantation Road Corridor, Smithfield Horse Center, Kentland Farm, and the Glade Road Poultry Research Center. To achieve these improvements, the project requires and the Board of Visitors has approved the demolition of 17 older structures.
- Merryman Center weight room renovation and expansion: With funding from private gifts, the $4.9 million project will support student-athlete training and preparation. The project, in combination with the to-be-constructed Student-Athlete Performance Center dining facility, will introduce spaces for a full spectrum of training needs in a centralized location. Practice facilities, strength training, classroom preparation, and dining facilities will be located adjacent to one another.
In addition, a resolution to supplement the Student-Athlete Performance Center project with an additional $3.7 million was approved, bringing the total project authorization to $20.4 million. The Executive Committee of the board approved this resolution at a special meeting in Richmond July 18, and it was ratified by the full board on Monday.
Board members also approved a resolution to amend its bylaws to accommodate the state law that requires a public comment period when the board considers an increase to tuition and mandatory fees . Should the board consider undergraduate in-state tuition and mandatory fee increases in the future, the university will hold a “budget workshop” that will include a 30-minute public comment period to be held during the 30-day window between the date the public notice is given and when the board takes action.
When public comment is received, at least three board members will be present, speakers will be required to preregister and will be limited to three minutes of comment, and comments must be limited to tuition and fees. There will also be an opportunity to submit written comments to the board.
Over the three-day meeting, board members received several reports on various topics, including faculty and staff recruitment and retention efforts; academic and research programs in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area; advancement initiatives; and the parking and transportation program in Blacksburg.
In addition, board members toured Virginia Tech facilities and programs located in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, including the Virginia Tech Research Center - Arlington, the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, and the Thinkabit Lab at the Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Center. Board member also visited the site of the future Amazon headquarters in Arlington and the planned Innovation Campus location in Alexandria.
The board also approved resolutions honoring 11 emeritus faculty members and appointed 15 faculty members to endowed professorships or fellowships. Stories on each person will appear in Virginia Tech News later this fall.
The next full Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting will be held Nov. 17 and 18 in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.