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Virginia Tech moves forward on plans to add new student housing

Courtesy of Virginia Tech
An illustration of what could be the Student Life Village, a housing village on Virginia Tech's campus that could house up to 5,000 students.

Virginia Tech took steps Monday to move forward with a plan to add a student life village to its campus —a move that could provide housing for 5,000 students.

The Board of Visitors voted Monday to add plans for a Student Life Village Master Plan as a supplement to its Campus Master Plan. The board would still have to approve the cost and design of the project, before any construction could move forward.

The Student Life Village is intended for both graduate and undergraduate students. Located right in the town of Blacksburg and next to the University’s golf course, it’s intended to be easily accessible to bike and pedestrian paths, as well as buses. Dining options, including restaurants, would also be within the Village, as well as exercise space.

Virginia Tech has increased its enrollment over recent years -- with just over 30,000 students currently. The growth has put strains on the housing and rental market for Blacksburg, a town of about 44,000, says the town’s Mayor Leslie Hager-Smith. “In the town of Blacksburg, 70 percent of the people that live here are renters. Not all of them are students. But the vast majority are students,” Hager-Smith said.

“That really shapes the character of our town. Students are our lifeblood,” Hager-Smith admitted. “We embrace them, but there are lifestyle conflicts between students, student housing, and single family residences.”

She said Blacksburg lacks many different types of housing, not just student housing, but sees the project as one solution that will help.

“We lack apartments for young professionals, we need more single family homes. There is every type of residence that we need.”

Housing developers who rent to students have voiced opposition to the new facility.

Following the board’s decision Monday, the University will begin holding meetings with town leadership, developers and restaurant owners in Blacksburg within the next month.

A possible timeline on the project wasn’t given, but a press release from the University’s spokesperson Mark Owczarski said the approved plan identifies “a potential path to incrementally adjust residential capacity” on Virginia Tech’s campus.

Updated: November 14, 2022 at 7:44 PM EST
Editor's Note: Radio IQ is a service of Virginia Tech.

Roxy Todd is Radio IQ's New River Valley Bureau Chief.