Monday, January 24, 2005

Southside University Update

The Daily Press has a comprehensive article describing the proposal to create a new university in the town of Martinsville. Interestingly, a community foundation, flush with $200 million from the sale of a local hospital, has pledged $50 million to the construction and maintenance of the new college.

The "New College of Virginia" they have proposed would let traditional, college-age students and older people with work force experience earn a bachelor's degree in only 28 months.

Longwood and Old Dominion Universities have offered a counter-proposal that would expand partnerships in the area by building on the successful "branch campuses" idea utilized in other regions of the state. This proposal would cost $4.9 million per year, while the "New College" would cost $9 million.

The State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SHEV) refused to endorse the "New College" plan, claiming that more time (and money) should be taken to study the idea. As Will Vehrs pointed out recently at PolState, there are two groups here: the "let's do it group" and the "let's study it to death like we always do in Virginia."

I'm a member of the first group, but something tells me I'll end up being disappointed. Oh well, wouldn't be the first time.

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