City resolution backs college idea

September 29, 2004

Martinsville City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday supporting plans to build a public college locally.

The resolution was sought by Dr. Ronald E. Carrier, former president and chancellor of James Madison University in Harrisonburg.  He is working with The Harvest Foundation to persuade the state to establish a new college in the area.

In January, the foundation presented the state with a $50 million challenge grant to help establish the college.

"The Commonwealth is not in a position fiscally to establish a new college without substantial local funding," the resolution states.

Land near Patrick Henry Farms subdivision off U. S. 58 has been offered as a possible location for the institution.

Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine and state Sen. Charles R. Hawkins of Pittsylvania County, among other lawmakers, have shown support for establishing a public four-year college in Southside, according to officials.

Economic developers say that a public college would be an economic boon to Martinsville and Henry County.  In addition to creating new jobs itself, they reason, the college would attract new businesses that also would bring new jobs.

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


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