by Josh Henry and Kallie Carson–
The Virginia Tech Master Plan was unveiled at the Town Gown meeting on April 19. The plan incorporates the past, present, and future designs of the University campus. Since the reveal, no major changes have been made to the Plan.
According to the Collegiate Times, the Plan has 8 “frameworks” that Virginia Tech is using as the main parts to the design. They represent ideals that Virginia Tech wants to keep in mind throughout the process, which include traditions, expanding student experiences, and maximizing profitable areas on campus.
Some of the plan’s highlights include moving the student center to the more analytically appropriate location of Cowgill Hall, replacing Holden and Randolph halls with new facilities, and keeping the campus walkable while expanding.
With movement around campus being one of the themes, the sculptors of the Master Plan (both Virginia Tech and Sasaki Associates) created the idea of the “Infinite Loop.” Manager of Transportation Planning and Engineering Mike Dunn claims the loop will help everything flow easier. Pedestrians, bikers, and possibly self-driving vehicles will have a main pathway to access the key spots around Virginia Tech’s campus.
The focus on movement and transportation also led Virginia Tech to create a larger transit hub on Perry Street near the parking garage.
“It is the Multi-Modal Transit Facility,” Dunn said. “What we want to do is turn [the two parking lots near the Perry Street garage] into transit hubs. Blacksburg Transit can come in and pick up folks. It helps get our Blacksburg Transit off the Drillfield.”
Perry Street would be closed down once the facility is finished. The goal of the hub is to keep pedestrians out of the flow of non-foot traffic surrounding the campus.
The Master Plan is currently in the plan revision and public comment phase. Members of both the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg communities will be given multiple opportunities to review the plan and ask any questions they may have with regards to the rollout of the Master Plan.
According to Dunn, the meetings with community members have been “well attended.” One of the main focuses of the questions directed at the Master Plan has been the accommodation for disabled members of the local community.
“The topography of this region is very hilly,” Dunn said. “We’ve looked a lot at making everything we do ADA accommodating, so everyone can have more access to the campus and everything within it.”
Most of the Master Plan designs won’t be put into effect until down the line. In 2019 students and community members can look forward to breaking ground on the Holden Hall renovation, work on the Infinite Loop, and improvements to Owens dining hall.