It’s an entirely new way of imagining student life on the Blacksburg campus a decade from now.
At its recent quarterly meeting, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors received a high-level presentation for a proposed Student Life Village.
The university is currently developing a Student Life Village master plan that proposes residential, well-being, recreation, dining, and enrichment spaces for up to 5,000 students on campus. The plan will focus on integrated, high-quality student-life offerings as well as living-learning programs, amenities, and public spaces to serve both on- and off-campus students.
Potentially located on the northwest side of campus, the Student Life Village study area includes the phased usage of the land bank formed by the special-purpose housing at Oak Lane and the golf course.
The plan for the Student Life Village would supplement Beyond Boundaries 2047: The Campus Plan which the board adopted in 2018. The campus master plan, which has gained national recognition, is a flexible, adaptable, and evolutionary document that will help achieve Virginia Tech’s strategic vision and serve as a road map for the future.
“The Student Life Village is a new take on campus living,” said Frank Shushok, vice president for student affairs. “We want to create better connectivity to the curricular, extracurricular, and social activities of the campus beyond a student’s first year. The Student Life Village concept would provide affordable and developmentally appropriate on-campus housing to upper-division students. We also want to make the Student Life Village a place where off-campus students, faculty, and staff feel welcome.”
“It will be a distinct district with new opportunities to innovate in well-being, living-learning experiences, building technology, and sustainability,” said Liza Morris, assistant vice president for planning and university architect. “The village master plan intentionally leverages topography and place-making strategies to embody Hokie Spirit in a new context while embracing Virginia Tech’s values and land-grant heritage. This affords us the option to utilize place-appropriate forms and materials.”
It is conceived as both a living-learning environment for the students who reside there and a destination to visit for the rest of the university. The Student Life Village would enhance the Virginia Tech student experience with living, study, dining, exercise, activity, and contemplation spaces, including a proposed interfaith chapel and technology-free zone. Key to the concept is enrichment programming with a focus on a diverse range of well-being practices.
“Envisioned as a new model for living and learning, well-being is embraced by the proposed spatial design of the village,” said Shushok. “The Student Life Village would provide the variety of spaces needed to practice holistic well-being with the flexibility to adjust to changing preferences.”
By Sandy Broughton