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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Festivities to include education walk
NCI building grand opening set for Sept. 12

Monday, September 1, 2014

A walk designed to highlight the importance of receiving a good education will be part of festivities that the New College Institute (NCI) is planning for the grand opening of its new building in uptown Martinsville.

Most events will be free to the public, said Debbie Lewis, development officer for the New College Foundation, NCI’s private fundraising arm.

A building dedication ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Sept. 12. It will include a ribbon-cutting, comments by local officials, placement of a historical marker and musical entertainment.

The walk, titled “Paving the Path to Higher Education,” will be held at 9 a.m. Sept. 13 along uptown streets. The exact route has not yet been set.

Lewis said the walk will “help us spread the word” about steps that people must take to get an education that will prepare them for good-paying jobs.

Those steps, she said, include elementary school, middle school, high school and college.

The Henry County and Martinsville school systems and Patrick Henry Community College are partnering with NCI in coordinating the walk.

Although the walk is open to anyone, students will receive a document that they can get stamped at stations — representing various educational steps — along the route.

At the end, Lewis said, students with completed “transcripts” will receive a hat and a diploma as souvenirs.

Sorry, parents, the diplomas will not be real. Lewis said they basically will be slips of paper stating that the student has visited each station on the route.

The hats will resemble mortar boards but “they will not be authentic,” she said.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 13, a celebration of the new building will be held, featuring more remarks and music, as well as refreshments. The first public tours of the building are planned then, Lewis said.

The only event not open to the public will be one on the evening of Sept. 12 at which donors who gave at least $2,500 to the foundation’s “Building on Baldwin” fundraising campaign will be recognized, according to Lewis.

More details of the festivities will be announced as they are finalized, she added.

The three-story, approximately 52,000-square-foot building on the Dana O. Baldwin Block between Fayette, West Church, Market and Moss streets is the first to be built specifically for the state-operated institute.

NCI’s administrative offices now are there, and the building will be home to programs being developed in advanced manufacturing, entrepreneurship and health care technology.

The Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. and uptown visitors center have moved into the building, and the Piedmont Governor’s School now is based there.

Indoor and outdoor spaces for public gatherings and special events also are part of the $18.7 million facility. Of the cost, state and various organizations covered about $16.7 million; the fundraising campaign covered the rest.


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