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Donor to give $100K to NCI
To go toward building on Baldwin Block
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Executives from Commonwealth Laminating pose with a check presented to officers from the New College Institute on the site of NCI’s new building on the Baldwin Block. Shown are (from left) Mike Haley, Commonwealth Laminating board chairman; Richard Hall, Commonwealth Laminating board member; Matt Phillips, Commonwealth Laminating chief operating officer; William Wampler Jr., executive director of NCI; Debbie Lewis, development officer of the New College Foundation; and Dr. Leanna Blevins, associate director and chief academic officer of NCI. (Contributed photo)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Commonwealth Laminating & Coating has committed $100,000 toward the construction of the New College Institute’s planned new building on the Dana O. Baldwin Block in uptown Martinsville.

The New College Foundation, NCI’s private fundraising arm, announced the commitment on Tuesday. It is the first corporate gift announced for the project.

The three-story, roughly 50,000-square-foot building’s main purpose will be to house new educational programs that NCI is developing in entrepreneurism, health care technology and advanced manufacturing.

Students will learn how to use state-of-the-art manufacturing technology that will be installed in the building, NCI officials have said.

“We are most grateful for this generous corporate gift,” said NCI Executive Director William Wampler, adding that Commonwealth is “a great partner.”

The company is based at the Patriot Centre industrial park in Henry County.

Wampler said the company realizes that the new NCI building will be “an investment in their workforce training for the future.”

Commonwealth invests in “initiatives that are critical to the future success of our company and our community,” said board member Richard Hall.

“Jobs will follow an educated workforce,” he said, “and Commonwealth Laminating is proud to offer support to a project that has such great potential to transform Martinsville and Henry County” economically.

“We are glad to give back to the community that has been so supportive of what we do,” added Mike Haley, chairman of Commonwealth’s board.

A “collaboratory” in the new building will be named after Commonwealth, and the company’s name will be displayed prominently, Wampler said.

He described the collaboratory as a commons space where students will work and communicate with each other to create, design and conduct experiments to evaluate and improve systems and products.

The lowest construction bid for the building, which is being reviewed to ensure it reflects NCI’s needs, was $13,289,000.

So far, the institute has obtained more than $15.2 million in commitments for the project. Officials have said they need to raise even more to cover costs for equipment and furnishings along with the construction.

Other gifts that NCI has announced include as much as $8 million from The Harvest Foundation, $5 million from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, $1.75 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and $500,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Commonwealth’s $100,000 committal will be put toward the New College Foundation’s $2 million “Building on Baldwin” capital campaign.

The campaign was launched in October to meet a challenge by Harvest to raise private funds to “unlock their $8 million commitment to complete the project,” said Debbie Lewis, the foundation’s development officer.

The foundation and its capital campaign committee are “actively engaged in reaching out to individuals and corporations throughout the region” for financial support, Lewis said.

Wampler described Commonwealth’s commitment as being “a lead gift that the donor asked us” to mention publicly now.

“We have other lead gifts that are not yet ready to be announced,” he said, because the donors are not ready.

Donors of large sums of money, such as companies, often have complicated internal processes they must go through before they can make donations and officially announce them, he noted.

Commonwealth’s gift will be one of the largest corporate gifts NCI is receiving toward the building, but it may not be the largest, officials said.

Wampler said the fundraising campaign is in its “quiet stage” — not a lot is being said about it publicly yet.

He anticipates more major donations will be announced soon. After that, efforts to reach the general public for support will become more intense, he indicated.

Any donation to the capital campaign, no matter how small or large, will be appreciated, Wampler said.


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