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Proposed funding for capital projects at William and Mary tops $90 million; Governor proposes $38 million for School of Education

Construction of William and Mary’s new School of Education building would be fully funded according to a proposal by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine that provides more than $38 million to complete the project. In addition, Kaine also announced a proposal Thursday for a statewide general obligation bond package for voters to consider next November, including another $52 million for future capital projects at William and Mary.The College's School of Education building will be fully funded under the Governor's proposed budget. By Stephen Salpukas.

“The Governor’s announcement includes terrific news for William and Mary on two vital fronts, our powerful and ongoing School of Education and Integrated Science Center,” said William and Mary President Gene R. Nichol. “We’re grateful that the governor and his staff have redoubled the momentum on two projects important to both the College and the Commonwealth. We’ll be working hard to make the case to our fellow Virginians that a general obligation bond will bear welcome fruit on our campus and across the state in research, service, and potent economic progress.”

If the General Assembly passes the bond referendum proposal, which includes $1.65 billion for higher education construction or major renovation projects across the Commonwealth, it would go before voters in the next general election. The package would provide $35 million toward the next phase of the College’s new Integrated Science Center and $11.8 million for a long overdue project to update the utility systems. Also included in the bond proposal is $5.4 million for capital projects at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, including $4.2 million to replace the Eastern Shore Seawater Laboratory and $1.2 million for shoreline erosion control. VIMS is also part of the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, which would receive an additional $2 million to explore alternative methods of energy, according to the governor’s budget proposal announced Thursday.

In addition, Kaine announced a separate proposal to be considered by state lawmakers that would include funding for more immediate projects for public universities across the state, including the $38 million to complete construction of the new School of Education building on Monticello Avenue. If passed by the General Assembly, those projects would be financed immediately through bonds issued by the Virginia College Building Authority. The funds would be available in July.

The needs of the School of Education project have been well documented. The future 109,000 square foot facility will bring all of the school’s programs under one roof and allow an expansion of outreach programs across the region. The $48-million facility will be located on a 22-acre site adjacent to campus between Compton Drive and Monticello Avenue. Previously, the site was home to Sentara Williamsburg Community Hospital. Last spring’s state budget included $5.35 million for planning, design and demolition for the project. Previously, the state also provided $1.85 million in matching funds and $6 million to assist the College in purchasing the site.

"We are very encouraged that the School of Education project continues to be a priority for the governor and our friends in Richmond," said Virginia McLaughlin, dean of the William and Mary
School of Education. "This new facility will not only provide a much needed state-of-the-art building for faculty, staff and students but will also serve as a launching pad for partnerships and programs that will benefit public education across the Commonwealth."

Demolition of the old hospital, conducted by Richmond-based S.B. Cox Inc., began in September and is well under way at the site. That part of the project is expected to be completed at the end of January 2008. Design of the new building has been conducted by Sasaki Associates, the same firm that designed the new Jamestown residence halls. Construction of the new facility is slated to begin in August 2008 and the project is scheduled to be finished in 2010.

If approved by voters, the general obligation bond would provide significant funding for the next phase of the College’s Integrated Science Center. When complete, the ISC will form a new science and research precinct on campus and foster interdisciplinary efforts among the College’s sciences while provide state-of-the-art lab space to departments such as biology, chemistry and psychology.

“We’ll be working with the business community and members of our own campus to help share the importance of this bond package for William and Mary and the Commonwealth,” said Stewart Gamage, vice president of public affairs at William and Mary. “We’ll need all of their support for both the upcoming General Assembly session and again at the polls next November.”

The first phase of the Integrated Science Center is nearing completion with the chemistry offices and labs scheduled to move out of Rogers Hall and into the new 117,000-square-foot building next semester. The building will also house psychology labs and biology labs and offices. The second phase of the project is renovating 47,000-square-foot Rogers Hall, which will house psychology and biology labs and offices. That project is scheduled to be completed in 2009. The next phase of the Integrated Science Center -- which is included in the general obligation bond -- would construct a new 97,000 square-foot building to be located between ISC I and Rogers Hall. That building, estimated to cost $59 million, would house biology labs and offices, applied science, academic and research computing and interdisciplinary space, which are areas that could be fitted according to specific grant proposals. The College hopes to complete that phase of the project by 2012.

“This general obligation bond would provide significant support for the next phase of the Integrated Science Center,” said Provost P. Geoffrey Feiss. “We are thankful the governor and our elected leaders understand the importance in developing facilities that will both fit into the Commonwealth’s research initiatives and support the region’s economic development efforts.”