At its quarterly meeting held Monday, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved a resolution for Virginia Tech to spend up to $3.246 million in nongeneral funds to renovate the Squires Student Center Commonwealth Ballroom, one of the largest and most frequently used student programming spaces on campus.

Constructed in 1969, Commonwealth Ballroom hosts approximately 160 events each year by student organizations and university departments including new student orientation, career fairs, Gobbler Nights, and Ring Dance. Improvements will include ADA accessibility enhancements, the replacement of lighting systems, stage systems, ceiling tiles, air handlers, and the installation of a Skyfold dividing wall. The project is scheduled to being later this year.

In addition, the board approved a 2.9 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees for resident undergraduate students for a third consecutive year, and a 2.9 percent increase for nonresident undergraduate students. Complete information on 2018-19 tuition and fees can be found on the Virginia Tech News website.  

Also on Monday, the board voted to approve a resolution to authorize the university to spend up to $10 million for the ACC Network Studio project. The project, which will be paid for entirely with nongeneral funds, will improve and expanded broadcasting facilities needed to meet required telecasts of games on the new network set to launch in 2019.

The board approved a resolution to establish compensation for graduate assistants for the 2018-19 academic year. Virginia Tech will advance the stipend scale by providing a base stipend increase of 2 percent, effective Nov. 25, 2018. The university will also pay 88 percent of the annual premium cost of the basic health insurance plan.

The full board ratified three resolutions passed earlier by the Executive Committee on March 13. The three resolutions — to approve the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Doctor of Medicine Degree Program, to incorporate into the Virginia Tech Faculty Handbook the types of faculty appointments and related policies for faculty of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and to reaffirm the Virginia Tech mission — are required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to integrate the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine into Virginia Tech. The three were initially approved in a special session of the Executive Committee in order to meet a March 15 application deadline.

On Monday, Chris Kiwus, associate vice president and chief facilities officer, and Ruben Avagyan, the university’s energy manager, provided board members with a report on the university’s utility systems and energy management program.

During the presentation, Avagyan noted that Virginia Tech has reduced its total carbon footprint by 12 percent since 2011. The university’s Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan commits Virginia Tech to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and to improving energy efficiency whereever and whenever possible in campus buildings.

At Sunday’s full-board information session, Menah Pratt-Clarke, vice president of strategic affairs and vice provost for inclusion and diversity, gave members updates on InclusiveVT and the university’s forthcoming strategic plan. Kelly Oaks, assistant vice president for equity and accessibility, gave board members a comprehensive report on sexual assault prevention efforts at the university.

On Monday afternoon, the board announced the selection of the 2018-19 student representatives. Rachel Iwicki, of Springfield, Virginia, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering and Russian language and literature in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, will be the undergraduate student representative. Zo Amani, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, a doctoral candidate in the Public Administration and Public Affairs Program in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, will be the graduate student representative.

Iwicki and Amani will serve one-year terms beginning July 1. An article introducing the new student representatives will run in Virginia Tech News later this week.

The board approved resolutions appointing 14 faculty members to endowed professorships or fellowships, and 15 individuals were honored with emeritus status. Stories on each of these appointments and honors will be published in Virginia Tech News beginning later this week.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be June 4-5 in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.

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