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NCI begins raising funds
New College Institute Executive Director William Wampler (right) discusses plans for a new building, which is to be erected on the Baldwin Block uptown, during a capital campaign kickoff announcement Monday. At left is Henry County Administrator Tim Hall. (Bulletin photos by Mickey Powell)
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
The New College Institute (NCI) on Monday launched a $2 million capital campaign to build its first entirely new structure — a 50,000-square-foot, three-story building on the Baldwin Block uptown.
The campaign’s theme is “Building on Baldwin, Building Our Future.” About 60 people gathered at the vacant block running along West Church, Market, Fayette and Moss streets for the kickoff announcement.
The building is to be used for high-tech educational programs that NCI is developing in advanced manufacturing, engineering and health care.
Debbie Lewis, development officer for the New College Foundation, said the building will be designed “to replicate best practices in business and industry so that our graduates will be highly competitive here or anywhere else.”
The foundation is NCI’s private fundraising arm.
The building is to have administrative offices and space for public events. Also, the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. and the Piedmont Governor’s School are to move there.
NCI now occupies rented space inside several buildings uptown. After the new building is erected, the institute plans to continue using its classroom building on Franklin Street and a laboratory building on Fayette Street.
But the new modern building is to provide us “access to (opportunities for) education like we’ve never had before,” said Kimble Reynolds Jr., vice mayor of Martinsville and vice chairman of the New College Foundation’s board.
The building is expected to cost about $15 million. The Harvest Foundation plans to contribute up to $8 million, and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission has awarded $5 million, hence the need to raise another $2 million.
Harvest’s grant is contingent on the institute raising the funds, said NCI Executive Director William Wampler.
Wampler credited Burgess “Butch” Hamlet of Bassett, a member of the tobacco commission, for having “shepherded” NCI’s application for funds through the commission’s consideration process.
Lewis said the campaign will reach out to both people and companies for donations.
Parts of the building can be named after major donors, she said.
In addition to the Harvest and tobacco commission monies, other grants are to be sought, officials have said.
“We’ll be loud” in getting the attention of potential contributors, Wampler said.
A former state senator, Wampler said he is confident that the $2 million will be raised because in the nine months in which he has lived in Martinsville and headed NCI, he has realized “this community has a great heart.”
“While it’s likely that donors will come from both in and outside the region, you can clearly see the momentum building within the community,” Lewis said. “People understand how important this (project) is.”
Marshall Stowe, chairman of the New College Foundation, said “there is a strong consensus in the community that NCI provides the region with the best opportunity for economic recovery and prosperity in the future.”
“The next generation and the ones following will reap the benefits of the efforts being made today,” Stowe said.
Co-chairmen of the capital campaign are the Rev. Thurman Echols, pastor of Moral Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Axton, and Marty Gardner, wife of the late Ben Gardner, for whom a scholarship at the institute is named.
“This building will help our area’s young people move up to another level” in terms of the quality of their education, Echols said.
This is “an exciting opportunity to provide a relevant higher education” to area residents, said Gardner.
“If you believe that higher education gives you access to a better life,” donate to the campaign, Wampler added.
To make a donation, send a check to the New College Foundation, 29 Jones St., Martinsville, Va. 24112.