Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Here’s a round-up of education briefs from around Southwest and Southside. There’s no full-time education reporter west of Richmond. You can help change that. Help us fund an education reporter.

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VCOM welcomes 20th class

The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)-Virginia campus welcomed 184 new osteopathic medical students this week as part of the Class of 2026, marking VCOM-Virginia’s 20th enrolled class since being founded in 2001.

VCOM’s mission is to recruit, train, and return students to medically underserved populations of southwest Virginia, and the Appalachian and Delta regions. The incoming class will help fullfill that mission as 158 come from Appalachian states including 86 from a Health Profession Shortage Area (HPSA). The class is 57% female and comprises of students from fifteen different states, with 99 students hailing from Virginia, according to a statement from the school.

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Tech construction project reduces energy cost by $1.8 million

Virginia Tech’s chilled water infrastructure capital construction project – aimed at improving the energy and operational efficiency of facilities across the Blacksburg campus – is nearly complete. 

The Chiller Plant Phase II project included:

  • Addition of a new chiller and cooling tower within the southwest chiller plant
  • Replacement of two of five existing chillers and cooling towers within the north chiller plant 
  • Installation of more than 4 miles of new underground chilled water supply/return piping across campus to connect both plants

Most of the new underground piping was extremely large – much of it with a diameter of 30 inches. Additionally, direct chilled water connections to several essential buildings on the Blacksburg campus were included within the scope of this nearly five-year capital project. 

As part of the project, buildings originally constructed with independent chillers were connected to the chilled water loop and those independent chillers shut down – saving operations and maintenance costs.

Nearly 40 percent of the air conditioned buildings on the Blacksburg campus now are part of the same continuous loop serviced by two chiller plants, providing redundancy. 

The chilled water infrastructure project is another example of the things Virginia Tech is doing to reach the university’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, the school said in a statement.

Since the Chiller Plant Phase II project began in 2019, electricity consumption for chilled-water generation in fiscal year 2022 fell by 54 percent, when compared to the pre-construction five-year average annual consumption, for a cumulative reduction of 19.6 million kWh. This equates to an energy cost avoidance of approximately $1.8 million.

Since construction began, it has reduced the output of 8,479 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or 21,046,244 miles driven by an average gasoline-powered passenger vehicle,” said Steve Durfee, campus energy manager, in a statement.

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Two massage therapy programs begin in Buena Vista and Roanoke

Two 500-hour Massage Therapy programs are being offered in two locations, both beginning on Sept. 6  at the Mountain Gateway Community College (formerly Dabney S. Lancaster Community College) Rockbridge Regional Center in Buena Vista, and also at the Roanoke Higher Education Center in Roanoke.

For both locations, the lecture portion will be held online Monday through Thursday evenings, starting on Sept. 6, from 5:30 to 9 pm through Feb. 9, 2023.

In-person bodywork sessions will meet at the Rockbridge Regional Center, located at 35 Vista Links Drive, from Feb. 14 through Jun. 13, 2023 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 am to 4 pm. In-person bodywork sessions will meet at the Roanoke Higher Education Center, located at 108 N. Jefferson St., from Feb. 13 through Jun. 14, 2023 on Monday through Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 9 pm.

 More details are available at https://www.mgcc.edu/workforce.

For information about tuition assistance, contact FastForward Coach Robin Jennings at (540) 863-2899 or rjennings@mgcc.edu.

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Sorensen Institute names 24 to emerging leaders class; one from Roanoke

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia has announced the names of 24 Virginia young professionals selected as members of its Emerging Leaders Program Class of 2022. One of those is from Roanoke, the only participant from Southwest or Southside.

The program brings together a diverse group of young professionals (in the first decade of their career) from across the state who have an interest in strengthening the quality of governance at all levels and wish to expand their skills and knowledge about leadership and policy, the institute said in a statement.

The list:

Rachel Adams, Richmond

Kara Alley, Richmond

Renard Carlos, Warrenton

Chris Clayton, Falls Church

John Daniels, Dumfries

Bailey Harlow, Richmond

Cordell Hayes Jr., Richmond

Darren Hays II, Freeman

Samantha Jaeger, Richmond

Sierra Lewis, Chester

Caleigh Lynch, Reston

Donald Pollard III, Arlington

Alicia Pullen, Richmond

Max Richards, Arlington

Matt Royer, Arlington

Saddam Salim, Falls Church

Shawn Soares, Richmond

Elizabeth Spach, Richmond

Maha Syed, Springfield

Derrick Taylor, Manassas

Abigail Thompson, Richmond

Zach Villegas, Richmond

Yunyun Wang, Roanoke

Henry Watkins, Richmond