A $5.5 million project will improve campus safety by upgrading fire alarm systems in 10 older buildings.

“The buildings met existing standards when they were built, but fire safety technology has improved since then,” said Chris Kiwus, associate vice president and chief facilities officer. “The upgraded fire safety systems will increase the safety of our buildings and the university community.”

Depending on the existing system in a particular building, upgrades will include the installation of new smoke and heat detectors, pull stations, notification devices, and new alarm panels.

The buildings scheduled to receive the upgrades include the Architecture Annex; the Food Science and Technology building; the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment building; and Lane, Litton Reaves, Norris, Patton, Randolph, War Memorial, and Whittemore halls.

The work is being done in phases. Improvements to the system in the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment building should be completed in April. The Food Science and Technology Building and the Architecture Annex are scheduled to be finished by this summer. Lane, War Memorial, and Whittemore halls are next on the list.

System upgrades to all ten buildings are expected to be completed by spring 2017, however that is subject to funding and project approvals by the Virginia Department of General Services.

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety routinely inspects university buildings to ensure they meet safety codes and that activities within the buildings, such as labs, operate safely.

In addition, every building has an action plan that details emergency procedures. Also, there is at least one emergency coordinator for each building who coordinates emergency preparedness efforts.

Fires in campus buildings are uncommon and usually small. There have been six fires since 2012 causing $4,400 in damages. Accidents are the most common cause.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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