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Unlike Virginia Tech sites in the Town of Blacksburg and around the state, the main Blacksburg campus has previously operated without street addresses. There are several reasons why this project is necessary for the Blacksburg campus.
- Enhance 911 response capabilities: Montgomery County, the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, and Virginia Tech began discussing the need for integrated communications among fire, rescue, and law enforcement responders in 2008. The New River Valley Emergency Communications Regional Authority will consolidate 911 operations into a single regional emergency communications center, which is expected to be fully operational by 2015. Virginia Tech’s partners – towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg and Montgomery County – use street addresses in their dispatch operations. When the new dispatch center becomes operational, it will be essential to have campus street addresses assigned so that all staff in the new center can quickly and accurately respond to and direct emergency calls.
- Facilitate GPS navigation for the campus community and visitors: GPS navigational system, like those commonly found in many new model cars, will become functional for navigation on campus once the new street address information becomes uploaded into the major geo-spatial providers (such as Google and MapQuest).
- Improve delivery information for external vendors: While many of our external vendors have become familiar with Virginia Tech and can locate their delivery areas without access to street address numbers and GPS navigation, many others have difficulty navigating the campus. Often they contact the campus department directly or call Mail Services for specific directions. This becomes particularly challenging when Virginia Tech constructs a new building, and neither current nor new vendors are aware of its location.
This project only affects departments that have a campus mail code, use zip code 24061, and receive their mail through Mail Services instead of USPS. Other university offices already have street addresses assigned by their local governments and will not be affected. However, they should refer to the style guide for address formats.
Some buildings which already have street addresses may see a change effective June 10, 2013 when the new addresses are published. Organizations with existing addresses should therefore review the new address list to confirm their official address.
The street address project included a number of tasks that had to be completed before it could be implemented. These were: providing an electronic file of street addresses to the Town of Blacksburg and the Virginia Geographic Information Network, which is the distribution link for mapping and navigation systems; modifying campus building signs to accommodate the street address; revising the University’s Style Guide; and revising campus maps (print and online). At the same time, the Procurement Department worked with HokieMart vendors and the state to ensure they could accommodate the additional address information to avoid problems with procurement and deliveries. The new campus address format could not be used until university systems, processes, and plans for signage were in place to support this change.
The new address format includes all lines of the old address, plus the street address. This is also the address used to send mail through the U.S. Postal Service to departments on the Blacksburg campus. Here is an example of the format that will be used:
Department Name (MC0XXX)
Building Name, RM or STE XXX, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061
A number of factors determine how an address is assigned. These include the nearest streets, primary public entrances, emergency vehicle access, and how deliveries are made to those buildings. Most campus streets already have names that are included in town of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech campus maps. New street names were added for several roads that provide access to a number of buildings located on the interior of campus – Ag Quad Lane, Garden Lane, Sterrett Drive, Life Science Circle, and Crest Lane.
Many campus buildings are easily addressed because of their proximity to a single street. Some buildings are located on the corner of two streets, so either street name could have been used. The options were reviewed with administrators from the colleges and administrative divisions, and their recommendations were used in the street address assignments.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the address is accurate without creating confusion.
Some campus buildings are land-locked and not on a street. Why do they need an address and how was one assigned?
Land-locked buildings needed street addresses for the same reasons that other buildings did – to make it easier for individuals to locate the buildings on maps and identify the nearest route to the building. But it is challenging to decide the best street address to assign to these buildings. This was easily solved for several buildings located adjacent to access roads that could be given street names and street numbers. For example, Dietrick Dining Facility and Latham Hall are located on the newly named Ag Quad Lane, and VBI and ICTAS II are located on the newly named Life Science Circle. For other land-locked buildings, we looked at the streets that were nearest to emergency vehicle access routes, public entrances, delivery points, and parking lots to identify the best option. Those who are unfamiliar with the university will still use campus maps to navigate the interior of campus. Online and print campus maps will be updated to include street addresses in addition to the building names that are already used.
Our buildings were constructed in phases, but they are attached. How many different street addresses will we have?
Assignment of street address for buildings with multiple phases is determined by the way that room numbers were assigned to each phase. If room number sequences are repeated in each phase (for example each phase has a Room 100), then a separate street address is assigned to each building phase. However, if the room numbers are unique through all phases of the building, then the phases will share a single street address.
Fortunately, there is a simple and inexpensive solution to add street addresses to the lower bar of existing campus building signs. This will occur over the summer 2013. While this may not resolve all of the questions about improved campus signage and wayfinding, the core address signage will be in place.
Will GPS and online map systems recognize the new addresses? When can we use GPS, Google Maps and other mapping systems to locate VT buildings by street address?
The addresses are released for mapping systems to implement. This may not occur immediately upon implementation for every mapping system because each system may retrieve the data from the Virginia Geographic Information Network at different times.
The mail codes will not change, nor will they be removed from the address listing. Please continue to use them when sending mail to campus offices.
Will we have to print new stationary, business cards, brochures and other materials that use the old address format?
No. Although you have the option to re-print, you are encouraged to use the remaining supply of printed items (brochures, letterhead, business cards, etc.) before ordering new material that feature street addresses. The old address, which includes department mail code, will be sufficient for campus mail, and the building name will continue to work as well as it does currently for deliveries and campus visitors. Campus maps and directories will include building names and street addresses, so visitors to campus will have access to the information needed to find their way.
Nothing is changing in campus mail services. The new address will not change your current mail stop area. Departments will continue to use the department name and mail code in addition to the new address format; therefore mail will continue to go to the central receiving area.
What address should an employee use when their office/work area is located in a different building than the departmental office that receives and distributes mail?
We have many departments with employees in numerous locations. For mail purposes an employee should use the mail code of the mail box area in the building in which they work or the in the building which their department has set up for mail to be delivered.
Why is Virginia Tech not simply appending the so-called mail code to the zip code and creating a nine-digit zip code that is used by so many other universities?
The USPS is the only organization with the authority to assign zip codes. While the USPS assigned 24061 as Virginia Tech’s unique zip code, zip plus fours have not yet been assigned for our campus. Mail codes are used by Virginia Tech Mail Services to sort and deliver mail to specific departments and are not affiliated with the USPS system. If you use your mail code as a zip plus four, your mail could be delayed or lost by the USPS.
For help changing an office address, please contact the HR Service Center at 1-9331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For help with a shipping address, please contact the HokieMart helpline at 1-2020 or email@example.com.
Questions about address format should be directed to the Associate Director for Campus Mail Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 231-9901.
A link for questions or comments is available on the project website at http://www.vt.edu/street-address. This will be monitored by the address project team to develop additional FAQs to be posted on the address project website, as well as respond to specific questions.
Questions? Comments? Submit your feedback
The street address implementation task force wants your questions, comments, and feedback about the initiative. Submit your feedback using this form.