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Tech Board of Visitors Endorses New Innovation Campus / Amends VTC Comprehensive Agreement

President Tim Sands speaks from the podium during the announcement of the university’s new Innovation Campus on Nov. 13. The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors unanimously endorsed the plan for the campus at a special meeting on Nov. 26.

At a special meeting held Monday in Richmond, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors unanimously passed a resolution to endorse the creation of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Alexandria.

The new 1 million-square-foot campus will become a global center of technology excellence and talent production where students, faculty, and industry leaders will come together to foster new ideas, support scaling of startups, and collaborate with corporations around the world to transfer technologies into the marketplace. It will also further enhance Virginia Tech’s academic and research programs.

“In his 2014 installation address, Tim Sands laid out his binary star vision, which included a long-term plan to expand Virginia Tech’s 50-year presence in Northern Virginia by creating a campus there,” said Dennis Treacy, rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

“His plan became the cornerstone of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s proposal for Northern Virginia to become the site for Amazon’s HQ2, and now has been fast-tracked as a result of Amazon’s decision to establish one of its two new headquarters at National Landing and the company’s need for talent to fill the 25,000 jobs that it expects to create.”

“Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in Alexandria, which will be located less than two miles from Amazon’s future headquarters at National Landing, is a historic investment that will transform Virginia’s high-tech economy,” said Vice Rector Horacio Valeiras, chief executive officer and partner of Frontier Global Partners. “This new campus will provide a pipeline of talent to industry and is a natural extension of the university’s commitment to drive economic development throughout the state.”

“As the land-grant research institution in the state, Virginia Tech reaffirmed its commitment to drive economic development by leveraging our strengths in technology and engineering and building on our strong partnerships in Washington, D.C.,” said Greta Harris, president and CEO of the Better Housing Coalition and member of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. “It also illustrates the university’s ability to leverage both its urban and rural assets. This will not only help Northern Virginia, but the commonwealth as a whole.”

The Innovation Campus will bring together the highest-caliber students, world-class faculty, smart ideas, and forward-thinking companies.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Virginia Tech to grow,” added Treacy. “All aspects of the university will benefit.”

“A unified and supportive board behind the Innovation Campus project is critical to its success,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “We have tremendous work to do, and the leadership of this board understands the challenge and embraces the opportunity.”

During the nearly three-hour meeting, board members received reports on the overall project, including enrollment support and faculty start-up costs; the state’s higher education package; enrollment, faculty, and capital support in Blacksburg; and research and industry partners. Board members also reviewed memorandums of understanding between Amazon and the Commonwealth of Virginia, those signed between the university and the City of Alexandria, as well as the developer (Stonebridge Associates Inc.) and the owner (BRE/DP Alexandria LLC) of the proposed location.

In other business, the board approved a resolution to amend the comprehensive agreement for the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute Biosciences Addition in Roanoke. Both Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic sought to amend the agreement to recognize an increase in the funding authorization by the Commonwealth of Virginia to complete two laboratory spaces within the project, to align the project schedule, and to help mitigate cost overruns.

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