February 2, 2005
The Roanoke Times
Though its status in the General Assembly remains in question, a proposal for a new Southside college received a substantive vote of support from Martinsville on Tuesday.
Martinsville City Council unanimously voted to commit $1 million over the next 10 years, in cash or services, toward the establishment of a four-year, residential, baccalaureate degree-granting college in the city or Henry County, said Matt Hankins, the city's public information officer. Boosters have been pushing the idea for years, but support has intensified during the past year, particularly with a $50 million challe? nge grant by the Harvest Foundation.
In January, however, hopes dimmed after the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia released a report saying the idea needed more study. Instead, SCHEV recommended lawmakers take a closer look at a proposal by Longwood and Old Dominion universities to work with Patrick Henry Community College to set up additional bachelor's degree programs in the area.
Martinsville's $1 million offer, which would be largely paid out of year-end department fund balances, does not apply to the Longwood/Old Dominion proposal, Hankins said.
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