December 18, 2005
Martinsville Bulletin Editorial
Once again, Gov. Mark Warner has supported this area's efforts to rebound.
Gov. Warner included $4.5 million for the New College Institute over the next two years in the state budget he proposed Friday. Also last week, the college announced the hiring of Dr. Barry M. Dorsey as its executive director and it unveiled a proposed framework that calls for it to become a state institution in 2006 and start classes in the fall of 2007.
All of this makes us believe the college plans are coming together. The idea had been talked about by Sen. Charles Hawkins, R-Pittsylvania County, and then-lieutenant governor and now Gov.-elect Tim Kaine, but it took The Harvest Foundation's $50 million challenge grant to get the idea off the ground in January 2004.
Since then, the foundation, the New College Planning Commisson and the college's staff have worked hard create a workable plan, focus local support for it and spread that support throughout the commonwealth and its lawmakers. Those efforts appear to have paid off in the governor's funding proposal as well as the backing of the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV).
The next job is to keep that momentum going as the funding and framework proposals work their way through the General Assembly starting in January. Area residents will be asked to speak out for the project, as they have done in the past, to help convince legislators from throughout the state of the importance of the college to the future of this area and the commonwealth.
As planning commission chairman Rob Spilman said Friday, "Failure is not an option."
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