Crews from the Virginia Tech Electric Service, Virginia Tech Power Plant, energy team, and mechanical utilities team have been involved in numerous projects on the Blacksburg campus to upgrade and repair underground utilities.

From the installation of energy-efficient lighting to replacements made to underground water and sewer lines, these projects further Virginia Tech’s sustainability goals outlined in the Climate Action Commitment

A group tours the Blacksburg substation. Photo by Andrew Durfee for Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech Electric Service

  • Blacksburg Substation Tours: The team coordinated a tour of the Blacksburg substation and control house with 142 students from the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design. The event provided students the opportunity to learn by seeing a substation in operation.
  • Lane West transformer A and B maintenance: At the Lane West substation, the team worked with General Electric and SPX Transformer Solutions to incorporate viton fluoro-rubber gaskets at each radiator interface on transformers A and B for increased operational range. 
  • Fiber-optic cable repairs: Team members including management, staff, linemen, and engineers worked to replace 3,500 feet of fiber-optic cable.
  • Williams Hall: The team upgraded utility infrastructure to supply new 5G Verizon and AT&T cellular antennas.
  • Hancock switchgear replacement: The team worked to replace Hancock Hall’s 1980s switchgear with an S&C Vista SD 600 amp underground distribution switchgear.
  • LED lighting upgrades: Throughout June, the team upgraded lighting in numerous parking lots  and the Upper Quad with more efficient LED lighting.
  • Student wellness improvements: The team upgraded infrastructure to prepare the new utility service for War Memorial and Eggleston halls.
  • Washington Street tennis courts: The team installed primary cables and completed trenching for a new PVC conduit to accommodate regrading and resurfacing.
  • Midtown apartments, townhomes, and street tighting: Virginia Tech Electric Service crews upgraded utility infrastructure to support town’s new Midtown community

The Virginia Tech Electric Service continues to support the planning, construction, and maintenance of numerous projects:

  • Relocation of lighting at the President’s Quad to accommodate sidewalk upgrades
  • Quillen Spirit Plaza dusk-to-dawn LED lighting
  • Multi-Modal Transit Facility dusk-to-dawn LED lighting and East Loop rapid electric vehicle charging stations
  • Cast-pole upgrades
  • Corps Leadership and Military Science Building fiber-optic and site lighting
  • Commercial PV at Sterrett Facility Complex, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Durham Hall, and McComas Hall
  • Preparations for the Wind Stability Tunnel for the construction of Mitchell Hall
  • Coordinating efforts to install new primary conductors at the Prices Fork Research Facility
  • Electric vehicle charging stations at the Edge Apartments.
  • Installation of primary conductor, transformers, and secondary conductor to supply electric service to 26 new apartments at Clover Valley Apartments
  • Continuing the installation of primary conductor, transformers and secondary conductor to supply electric service to six new apartments buildings and rental office at Baker Apartments
The Virginia Tech Power Plant. Photo by Rosie Cicmanec for Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech Power Plant 

  • Generator rewind/core replacement: The power plant crew rewired the stator and rotor and to replace the core laminations in the generator to improve efficiency. 
  • Generator cooling water lines replacement: The crew replaced all of the cooling water lines associated with the generator rebuild/rewind project. 
  • Condensate polisher replacement: The crew replaced 50-year-old condensate polishers with new ones to improve efficiency. 
  • Emergency generator automatic transfer switchgear replacement: The crew replaced the old, obsolete switchgear with a modern, up-to-date switchgear. This work ensures an automatic transfer in the event of a power failure to the Virginia Tech Power Plant.
The Chiller Plant on the Blacksburg campus. Photo by Sarah Myers for Virginia Tech.


  • Steger Hall Aircuity Laboratory ventilation optimization project: The new system in Steger Hall monitors air quality in rooms and regulates airflows to guarantee optimal indoor air quality. This ensures safety and comfort and bolsters the commitment to energy efficiency. The new system also aids in reducing carbon emissions, aligns with energy efficiency goals in the Climate Action Commitment, and promotes a healthier environment for the campus community. 

Mechanical utilities

  • South End Zone water line: The team replaced approximately 1,300 feet in the Lane Stadium parking lot. 
  • Johnson Hall sewer replacement: The team replaced 300 feet of sewer and storm sewer pipe on the east side of Johnson Hall.
  • Harper Hall heat exchanger: The team replaced the heat exchanger for Harper Hall's hot water system located in a vault adjacent to the Smith Career Center.
  • Condensate return: The team replaced 50 feet of direct bury condensate return pipe located under a bus stop on Stanger Street between Barger Street and Old Turner Street.

Related links


Share this story