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NCI's proposed building drawing praise from potential donors
Monday, June 18, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
A building that the New College Institute (NCI) plans to construct on the Baldwin Block uptown is being praised by potential donors, an official said.
The three-story, roughly 50,000-square-foot building mainly would be used for advanced manufacturing and health care programs that NCI aims to start. Its space also could be put to other uses — such as public events — when it is not needed for academics, officials have said.
Construction is estimated to cost $10 million to $15 million. NCI’s private fundraising arm, the New College Foundation, plans to raise the money.
NCI Executive Director William Wampler said the foundation has begun “the process of the soft ask,” in which the foundation tells identified potential donors about the facility and its intended uses.
But “we haven’t talked dollars” with anyone yet, he said.
Wampler said plans for the building are “being received well” by potential donors. He said they include local, regional and statewide businesses. He would not elaborate.
NCI plans to approach the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission about helping fund the building’s construction.
Wampler indicated that the commission, which promotes economic growth among areas whose economies once heavily relied on the tobacco industry, might be the major source of funds.
Potential donors have said “once you get your major gift, come back and talk to us” about how much more money is needed, Wampler said.
According to its website, the commission will meet at 10 a.m. Sept. 27 at an as-yet undetermined location. Wampler indicated that NCI plans to approach the commission for funds during that meeting.
Martinsville City Council has donated the Baldwin Block, named after the late local physician and philanthropist Dr. Dana O. Baldwin, to the institute.
Wampler also said a team from one of NCI’s partners, Virginia State University, will visit the institute today and Tuesday to discuss possibilities for advanced manufacturing education there.