BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors voted to approve a $1.66 billion budget Monday.

The board voted unanimously to approve the 2019-20 plan, which is a $102.2 million increase over the current year’s budget. The board also discussed the university’s enrollment surge for fall 2019, upcoming construction projects and approved its strategic plan.

The new budget includes about $900 million earmarked for educational and general expenditures, with the rest mostly going to capital projects and fee-based services such as student dining and housing.

Tech officials credited an increase of state support for the budgetary growth. Tech received a total of $36.9 million in additional state support including portions of funding for general education, the Tech Talent Pipeline and extension projects.

When accounting for inflation, the university will receive 55 percent less funding per pupil from the state than it did in fiscal year 2001, according to the budget resolution.

As part of the budget talks, the board approved a number of major capital projects including:

  • The Global Business and Analytics Complex Residence Halls, which will house 700 students and space for the Cranwell International Center. Occupancy is planned for no later than summer 2023. The project is slated to cost $84 million. The halls are being built by new academic buildings for which Tech received funding from the General Assembly this summer. It will be located near the Inn at Virginia Tech.
  • The new Corps Leadership and Military Science Building, which will be 75,500 square feet. The building will be located near Lane Hall on the Upper Quad and will house ROTC and Corps of Cadets programs as well as classroom, administrative, programming and academic office space. The project is slated to cost $52 million.
  • Demolishing Femoyer Hall and constructing a new 300-bed dorm in its place. The board approved $33 million to demolish Femoyer and design and construct the New Upper Quad Residence Hall.

The university’s strategic plan was also approved. That includes a number of long-term goals including an enrollment goal of 30,000 undergraduate students by 2023 and a student body that is 40 percent underrepresented or underserved by 2022.

Tech Provost Cyril Clarke provided an update on the enrollment situation for the fall 2019. Tech is bracing for the impact of an over-enrolled freshman class of about 1,000 students.

Clarke said that the school is developing strategies to provide housing, maximize classroom space and begin buying out housing contracts for upperclassmen living on campus.

Clarke said though there will be challenges, students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community should be confident the university will find solutions to the challenges it faces.

“This institution and this community cares about its students,” Clarke said.

He also updated the board on the offers to delay enrollment in exchange for financial incentives, which went out last week. Prospective students have until Thursday to accept one of those offers and it’s unclear how many students will accept the offer.

Clarke said that Tech was one of only two institutions that is managing an over-enrollment in Virginia. The University of Virginia is the other. The other public four-year universities in the state all accepted students off their wait lists, he said.

Tech’s board also approved an accelerated master’s degree in computer science and applications to begin in spring 2020. The program would be concentrated in Northern Virginia, primarily at the new Innovation Campus that’s tied to the planned Amazon headquarters project. Next, it needs to be approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The board finished the meeting by selecting a new rector for the coming school year: Horacio Valeiras, the current vice rector, who is a Tech graduate who currently lives in California. Letitia Long of Northern Virginia will serve as vice rector next year.

Rector Dennis Treacy had held the position since summer 2017. His term on the board will conclude next summer.

This was also the final meeting for board member Debbie Petrine of Hardy. Petrine made history in 2014 when she became the board’s first female rector. She held that position for two years.

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Robby Korth covers higher education, primarily Virginia Tech.

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