The development of Virginia Tech’s inaugural utilities master plan — a flexible, adaptable visioning document that will draw from the university’s Climate Action Commitment, campus master plan, and Beyond Boundaries vision to create sustainable and scalable utilities infrastructure that complements the evolving Blacksburg campus – is underway. 

The utilities master plan will outline the maintenance and growth of the university’s steam, electric, chiller, stormwater, water, sewer, and telecommunication systems.

“Utilities such as heat, electricity, and water are essential services that play a vital role in meeting the needs of our institution’s programs. As Virginia Tech continues to achieve its Beyond Boundaries vision and technology evolves, it is imperative that we assess our current state of infrastructure and collaboratively plan for a sustainable, efficient, and safe future,” said Chris Kiwus, vice president for campus planning, infrastructure, and facilities.

When complete, the utilities master plan will offer a holistic and proactive approach to utility service investment. It also will provide a road map for aligning utility systems on the Blacksburg campus with the visions set forth in the campus master plan and Climate Action Commitment. 

“With the aid of the utilities master plan, increased strategic investments to further improve our utility systems’ performance, sustainability, and resilience will be possible,” said Matt Stolte, director of engineering services. 

The document’s highly collaborative, multiphased planning and development process, facilitated by the Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities’ Engineering Services, began in October. Key phases include:

  • Assessing existing capacity and condition of utility systems by gathering existing utility data and engaging with university personnel
  • Evaluating utility needs for the campus master plan and the Climate Action Commitment
  • Identifying specific strategies, projects, and programs for utility systems to meet future levels of service through modeling and stakeholder engagement
  • Compiling investigation, analysis, and stakeholder feedback into the utilities master plan

Stakeholders are integrated throughout the development of the utilities master plan to encourage an innovative approach for scaling the utility infrastructure necessary to achieve Virginia Tech’s campus master plan and Climate Action Commitment.  The planning process will engage students, faculty, staff, Town of Blacksburg, New River Valley Water Authority, Blacksburg-VPI Sanitation Authority, and representatives from the following administrative units: 

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Architecture, Arts, and Design
  • College of Engineering
  • Division of Finance
  • Division of Information Technology
  • Enterprise Administrative and Business Services
  • Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Office of Government and Community Relations
  • Research and Innovation
  • Student Affairs

Over the next approximately two years, members of the university and surrounding communities will be invited to engage in planning and feedback sessions.

On March 20, efforts completed to date on the utilities master plan were shared by Mary-Ann Ibeziako, assistant vice president for infrastructure and chief sustainability officer to Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors during its Buildings and Grounds Committee session.

Stakeholders receive updates on the utilities master plan at a kickoff meeting in Jan. 2023. Photo by Meghan Marsh for Virginia Tech.

To further facilitate the development of Virginia Tech’s utilities master plan, Nam Nguyen was appointed senior director of the Virginia Tech Electric Service and deputy to the assistant vice president for infrastructure, effective Jan. 10. 

Bringing over three decades of experience from Dominion Energy and the Virginia Department of Energy, Nguyen will oversee the Blacksburg campus’ utilities operations and support the implementation of goals highlighted in the Climate Action Commitment. 

Nguyen is a graduate of Virginia Tech’s electrical engineering program. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. 

Nguyen also has served on the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Industrial Advisory Board for six years.

“A strategic approach to the capacity and condition of our utility systems will help foster the success of the visions and goals set forth in the campus master plan and Climate Action Commitment,” said Ibeziako. “I am confident that Nam’s leadership experience, knowledge of utilities, and collaborative nature will prove to be of great use as he engages in planning efforts.” 

Updates on Virginia Tech’s utilities master plan will be available online. Feedback on the utilities master plan may be submitted also online.

Nam Nguyen, senior director of the Virginia Tech Electric Service and deputy to the assistant vice president for infrastructure. Photo by Rosie Cicmanec for Virginia Tech.
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