Virginia Tech Campus Master Plan earns national recognition for excellence in university planning
August 13, 2019
Virginia Tech and consulting partner Sasaki were recently honored with the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Excellence in Planning for an Existing Campus Merit Award for the Virginia Tech 2018 Campus Master Plan.
The master plan was recognized at the SCUP 2019 Annual Conference in July. SCUP is the professional association dedicated to the integration of planning in higher education institutions. The SCUP Excellence Awards acknowledge innovative, collaborative, multidisciplinary, and integrated approaches to planning and design.
The 2018 Campus Master Plan — approved by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors in November 2018 — guides current and future campus leaders as they imagine and develop the Blacksburg campus and the university’s 11 agricultural research and Extension centers through 2047.
Over the past 20 years, facilities on the Blacksburg campus have grown by 4.6 million gross square feet, and the university has planned for up to an additional 7 million gross square feet in facilities growth over the next 30 years.
The master plan, a key initiative connecting across all core values of Virginia Tech’s Strategic Plan, The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries, prepares the university for the next generation of higher education. The master plan builds upon the Beyond Boundaries vision to ensure appropriate capacity in facilities and infrastructure, as seen in the plan’s vision for living-learning communities anchored by flexible learning spaces.
The master plan provides key principles and recommendations to guide decision making around building design, building siting, and anticipated infrastructure needs to support potential expansion in the future. This includes deep analysis of supporting infrastructure, such as transportation, accessibility, utilities, and stormwater, as well as university assets that exist beyond Montgomery County.
This effort was supported by five subconsultants, including Accessibility Consultants, Inc., Affiliated Engineers, Inc., BRR, Draper Aden, and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.
SCUP cites the deliberate integration of university academic, research, and engagement missions into campus planning across university facilities as a distinguishing award factor, as well as the strong emphasis on campus accessibility and mobility throughout the plan.
SCUP also applauds the purposeful intersections between campus and the Town of Blacksburg as hubs of collaboration and learning and the collaborative and technology-driven process that underscored master planning efforts.
Approximately 200 meetings and presentations were conducted by the Office of University Planning with the campus community to share the developing vision for the Blacksburg campus and to receive feedback on the plans. The plan was brought to life for the campus community through a series of 360-degree 3D presentations. Crowd-sourced pedestrian and registrar data also informed planning efforts.
“The 2018 Campus Master Plan process was rooted in collaboration, and we’re proud to receive the SCUP Excellence in Planning Award alongside our partner Sasaki,” said Liza Morris, assistant vice president for planning and university architect.
“Integrating the university mission into the campus physical framework and preserving the characteristics that make the Virginia Tech main campus so unique will continue to be driving principles as the master plan comes to life,” added Morris.
“The SCUP award would not have been possible without the contributions made by the Virginia Tech community during the planning process. The outcome is a master plan that will enable the university to make incremental decisions while contributing to a broader vision for the campus – a vision created in partnership with the campus community,” said Greg Havens, principal at Sasaki.