Area moves toward building college

October 29, 2004


The Winston-Salem Journal


Kimble Reynolds Jr., the vice mayor of Martinsville, Va., wants a better future for the young people he sees at the local car washes, "polishing on the new ride as if it was the Hope Diamond."

The car wash is a symbol of where many of the area's young adults are headed, Reynolds said, because they haven't seen the need to attend college.

"Why? Because he or she was just following the family cycle," Reynolds said.

Reynolds was among the speakers Thursday urging Virginia's Council of Higher Education to support the creation of a four-year college to strengthen the economic prospects of the Martinsville and Henry County area, in which unemployment has risen more than 15 percent with the departure of textile and furniture industries.

Building a college there would also raise the education level, and thus the expectations for a better future for those who live there, the speakers said.

Thursday's hearing was the last of three conducted by the council, which is considering proposals for establishing a four-year college in the region. It must make its recommendations to the General Assembly by Jan. 12.

One proposal, by The Harvest Foundation of the Piedmont, would create the New College of Virginia. The school would offer a 28-month, 120-hour undergraduate degree, which would include internships at local industries.


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