Council unanimously approves resolution in support of New College

January 11, 2006

Martinsville City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution in support of the proposed New College Institute.

The council, the resolution states, "enthusiastically endorses and supports' efforts to establish the institute in Martinsville/Henry County and asks that the $4.5 million proposed by Gov. Mark Warner for the school be included  in the state's 2006-08 biennium budget.

It also asks The Harvest Foundation to match that sum.  The foundations' executive committee voted to do so earlier in the day. (See related story.)

The model for the institute involves regional cooperation, and the city has committed $1 million to develop the school's infrastructure, the resolution reads. 

Councilman James Clark said that the Henry County Board of Supervisors should make a similar financial commitment.

The resolution also notes The Harvest Foundation's $50 million challenge grant for the state to approve the publicly funded institute, which would confer baccalaureate degrees.

"Education and knowledge," the resolution states, "are the foundations of success in the 21st century economy and are necessary for the success of Southside as a region."

Plans by the New College Planning Commission call for the institute to open to students in the fall of 2007.  It initially would confer degrees offered by other colleges and universities but eventually could become a free-standing college or branch campus of another institution, perhaps by 2012, plans indicate.

Along with Warner, Virginia Tech, the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia and state Secretary of Education Peter Blake have signed off on the plan, the resolution shows.

It states that the college "can be a catalyst for economic revitalization" in Southside.

Also Tuesday, the city council unanimously approved a resolution in support of Citizens Against Family Violence's  (CAFV) efforts to seek state funds to build additional shelter space.

CAFV has determined that the community needs more shelter space for abused women, men and family members, the resolution says.


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