Members of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors discussed a wide range of topics and issues during their two-day meeting Sunday and Monday in Blacksburg.

Among the topics addressed, board members received a design preview of Mitchell Hall, the new 284,000-square-foot facility that will house the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering and the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity. The building, which will be located on the current site of Randolph Hall, also will provide instructional and research labs for several additional engineering departments. It will offer general assignment classrooms, intentional space for student advising and recruitment activities, design team and project workspace, and informal meeting and study areas for all Virginia Tech students.

Last year, Norris Mitchell ’58 and his wife, Wendy, committed a record-breaking $35 million gift toward the project’s construction as well as activities and programming that will be housed within the completed building. Their gift paved the way for a full authorization of funding for Mitchell Hall from the General Assembly earlier this year.

Work on the new building is expected to begin in the fall of 2023 with substantial completion of the building expected in 2027.

During the two-day meeting, board members approved a resolution adopting the 2022 Student Life Village Master Plan as a supplement to the Campus Master Plan. While the resolution does not grant authority beyond the land use designation and does not authorize action or expenditures for design or construction services, it does identify a potential path to incrementally adjust residential capacity from 10,500 beds to approximately 13,700 beds. This could occur through a series of actions that include the construction of the Student Life Village (5,000 new beds in phases over time as needed), the demolition of Slusher Hall (approximately 650 fewer beds), the demolition of the Oak Lane community (approximately 600 fewer beds), and providing capacity to remove 500 or more beds temporarily from existing stock on a revolving and continuous cycle for renovations and renewal.

At Sunday’s information session, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Luisa Havens and Juan Espinosa, assistant vice president for enrollment management and director of undergraduate admissions, gave an overview of current undergraduate and graduate enrollment trends, retention rates, and financial aid support. The two noted that the university will seek to enroll 30,450 undergraduate students in the fall of 2023, just slightly higher than the 30,434 undergraduate students enrolled this fall.

Board members also received updates on the university’s administrative and professional faculty job architecture project, the Innovation Campus, and the Task Force on Freedom of Expression and Inquiry. Board members also received reports on campus security, faculty diversity, student financial aid resources, research finances and resources, agricultural facilities and partnerships, research facilities, and campus sustainability initiatives.

Board members also toured the Corps Leadership and Military Science Building and Upper Quad Residence Hall construction project sites.

The board also approved resolutions honoring 31 emeritus faculty members and appointing six faculty members to an endowed professorships. Individual stories on each person will appear in VTx in the coming weeks.

At the start of the full board session Monday afternoon, Rector Tish Long and Virginia Tech President Tim Sands began the meeting with brief statements followed by a moment of silence in support of the University of Virginia community.

The next full Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting will be held March 19-20 in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.

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