A small Virginia town gets a big boost from a planning team of graduate students. And this isn't the first time it's happened. 

After working on plans for Buchanan, Virginia, in Virginia Tech's Community Design Assistance Center as a student 20 years ago, Harry Gleason became the town's community revitalization manager.

Now a second generation of graduate students is invading the Botetourt County town with hard work and good ideas. As part of Diane Zahm's urban affairs and planning studio class in the School of Public and International Affairs, a student team is helping to update the town's comprehensive plan.

As part of the project, John Settle of Virginia Beach, an urban and regional planning major, worked to inventory hundreds of buildings, many of them candidates for the National Register of Historic Place.

Tara Reel of Belington, West Virginia, who is majoring in public administration as well as planning, stresses the importance of preserving a town's charm while seeking "some type of new economic development that can change the whole scheme of what's happening."

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