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State capital plan fully funds construction of new School of Education building

The School of Education building will be fully funded. By Stephen Salpukas. (Williamsburg, VA) – The newly adopted state capital plan includes $38.1 million to fully fund construction of the new School of Education building at the College of William and Mary. The statewide bond package, approved Wednesday in Richmond during a special session of the Virginia General Assembly, also includes funding and planning dollars for three other construction projects at William and Mary, including $8 million for a critical project to upgrade the College’s heating and cooling systems, $250,000 in pre-planning dollars for the third phase of the Integrated Science Center and more than $500,000 for detailed planning of the renovation of Tucker Hall. The bond bill will now go to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who is expected to sign it.

“This capital plan is wonderful news for William and Mary and the state of Virginia. We owe great gratitude to the members of the General Assembly, in particular Sen. Norment and Del. Hamilton, as well as Gov. Kaine, for their continued advocacy,” said Interim President W. Taylor Reveley III. “By fully funding construction of the School of Education building, enabling us to move ahead in vital upgrades of our utilities and endorsing future projects at Tucker Hall and the Integrated Science Center, this bond measure constitutes significant progress for the College.”

The future 112,000 square foot facility, scheduled to open in 2010, will bring all of the School of Education’s programs under one roof and allow an expansion of outreach programs across the region and state. The new building -- which will serve roughly 90 faculty and staff, as well as 150 undergraduate and 650 graduate students -- will be located on the 22-acre property off Monticello Avenue. The College purchased the property in 2006 from Sentara Williamsburg Community Hospital for $8.7 million, which represented a $7.4-million gift from Sentara on the property’s appraised value.

Construction of the new facility is slated to begin in August 2008, though William and Mary officials will celebrate the recent state news with an event at the future School of Education site on Friday. The event, called a “Site Celebration” will be held at 11 a.m., said Virginia McLaughlin, dean of the School of Education. Design of the new building has been conducted by Sasaki Associates, the same firm that designed the new Jamestown residence halls.

The needs of the School of Education project have been well documented. Currently, the school is located in about 26,000 square feet in Jones Hall. Because of a lack of space, more than half of the school’s classes are taught in other buildings across campus. A study found that the school needs a facility of at least 100,000 square feet to meet its needs. Annually, the school produces more than 120 teachers, 20 school administrators, as well as reading specialists, school counselors and psychologists. In addition, the School of Education provides professional development to more than 20,000 educators across the Commonwealth.

“This is such an important project for both the College and the Commonwealth,” McLaughlin said. “This new building will provide us a facility that equals the wonderful work of our faculty, staff and students and allow us finally to work and collaborate under one roof. It’s time to celebrate this news and say thank you to the many people who spent long hours making the case in Richmond.”

Funding for the utility project comes at a critical time and allows the College to move forward with plans to upgrade its heating and cooling systems. The project includes a new cooling plant and upgrading and installing new water lines on campus and will begin in November and is scheduled to be completed by July 2010.

The state’s approval of planning dollars for the third phase of the Integrated Science Center and the renovation of Tucker Hall, home to the English Department, is encouraging for the future of both projects, said Provost P. Geoffrey Feiss.

“These planning dollars will allow us to move forward and stay on schedule,” Feiss said. “It’s good to know that these important projects are officially on the radars of both the governor and the General Assembly. This is a powerful endorsement by the state of the programs that will be served in both Tucker and ISC facilities.”

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