Town Gown Meeting - Master Plan April 19, 2018

Jason Soileau points out the locations of where new buildings would be built and what they would do for the district, April 19, 2018

At the monthly Town-Gown meeting on April 19, Jason Soileau, the assistant vice president for the Office of University Planning at Virginia Tech, discussed the campus master plan. The plan will bring major changes to the campus including the new smart dining facility, an undergraduate lab building and the relocation of the College of Architecture.

The campus master plan provides a long-term vision for the future of campus, extending all the way to 2047 and beyond. The Office of University Planning along with Sasaki Associates started the creation of the current master plan two years ago.

“It's imperative to know that we are retaining the sense of place that is so special at Virginia Tech,” Soileau said. “That sense of place comes from our unique architecture, from the relationship from those buildings to outdoor environment and how can we build upon that.”

According to Soileau, the Office of University Planning has facilitated more than 200 meetings with various stakeholder groups during the development process of the master plan. The plan is currently in the plan revision and public comment phase. The final master plan is scheduled to come out in November 2018. A full timeline for the development of the master plan can be found here. 

“It's been a very engaging process, and I think the result is we've developed what I think is a very bold but appropriate vision for Virginia Tech moving forward,” Soileau said.

Soileau indicated that the master plan proposes not only a future plan for the Blacksburg campus, but also additional plans for the Roanoke campus and the National Capital Region.

The short-term part of the master plan will add another 3.7 million gross square feet to the campus, while the long-term part of the plan will add 7 million gross square feet to the campus while still retaining the characters of Virginia Tech. 

“We don't want to abandon traditions. Planners have to understand what makes Virginia Tech Virginia Tech,” Soileau said.

The master plan will add an intelligent infrastructure and smart dining facility to the academic side of the campus. The facility is scheduled for construction in 2019 and will have 1,000 dining seats, 15,000 square feet of innovation labs and 5,000 square feet of data visualization labs.

A state-funded undergraduate lab building will also be added to the academic side of the campus. The Office of University Planning is in the process of designing the building and waiting for follow-up construction funding from the state to continue the project. Construction is planned to start in 2020.

In addition, Holden Hall and Randolph Hall will be replaced by two new buildings. The construction of the Holden Hall replacement project is scheduled to start in 2019. The expected date for the Randolph Hall replacement project has not been decided yet. 

For the Creativity and Innovation District, the master plan proposes the idea of adding a music and performance arts village. The village will incorporate the existing architect annex and the media building. All the music and performance studios that are currently in the Squires Student Center will be relocated to the music and performance arts village.

A public-private partnership (P3) building will also be added to the Creativity and Innovation District. The P3 building is designed to be a space to engage students with local entrepreneurs.

The master plan also demolishes Squires Student Center and replaces it with the new College of Architecture building. The student organizations that are currently located in Squires, such as the Student Government Association, Virginia Tech Union, and New Student and Family Programs, will be moved to the current bookstore building. The current book store will be relocated to the P3 building. 

Owens Dining Hall will receive two renovations in the next two summers. However, according to Soileau, their plan is to eventually demolish Owens and transform it into a new dining facility in the next decade.

According to Soileau, Slusher Hall will be replaced by a new housing facility.

Soileau concluded the meeting after answering questions from the audience. This Town-Gown meeting was the third and final Town-Gown meeting of this semester.

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