State foots bill for School of Education

During a special session of the General Assembly Wednesday, members of the House of Delegates and Senate passed a $1.5 billion bond package for the state of Virginia.

The plan, which provides funding for state schools, public parks and mental health facilities, allocated $38.1 million in state funds specifically for the College’s capital funds.

“These planning dollars will allow us to move forward and stay on schedule,” College Provost Geoff Feiss said. “It’s good to know that these important projects are officially on the radars of both the governor and the General Assembly.”

The passage of the capital budget also comes as welcome news for much of the administration at the College because earlier this year the GA, in an effort to make up for the $641 million state deficit, reduced the operating budget of the College by approximately $2.8 million.

“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 … for their continued advocacy,” Interim College President Taylor Reveley said in a press release.

The school operates on two separate budgets. The operating budget is concerned with daily affairs, such as teacher salaries and funding for activities, while the capital budget pertains to the development and upkeep of College structures and buildings.

All state schools are required to develop a six-year capital outlay plan that must be renewed every two years. The plan consists of a list of renovation projects and possible building projects for the next couple years.

Of the $38.1 million that the College is receiving, $8 million will go toward an upgrade of the College’s heating and cooling systems, $250,000 will go toward pre-planning the third phase of the Integrated Science Center, and $500,000 will go toward the detailed planning of the renovation of Tucker Hall. The largest portion of the funds will go toward fully funding the construction of the new School of Education.

“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,” Reveley said.

The 112,000-square-foot facility, located off Monticello Avenue on the old Sentara Hospital site, is scheduled to open in 2010.

According to Martha Sheets, senior planner at the Office of Administration, the capital plan does not cover all of the building costs.

“[The funds cover] all of the costs to design and construct the new building over at the old hospital site,” she said. “It does not provide for what we call furnishings and equipment that are not built into the building.”

Dean of the School of Education Virginia McLaughlin was pleased with the funds.

“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,” McLaughlin said.

“It’s time to celebrate this news and say thank you to the many people who spent long hours making the case in Richmond.”

The planning of the third phase of the ISC building was another highlight of the capital plan. The construction of the ISC building, located beside Rogers Hall, is only the first of four phases in the construction of that area. Phase two consists of a renovation of Rogers Hall, and phase three entails the construction of a new building between the ISC building and Rogers. Sheets said that phase four is in the preliminary planning stage.

“Phase four is very far into the future and would probably replace where Millington currently is now,” she said.

Overall, College officials were pleased with the passage of the construction bill package.

“We were thrilled that $38 million was included,” College spokesperson Brian Whitson said. “The good news here is that by putting planning dollars in for these projects, several years down the road, the state has given its general commitment to these projects.”


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