GOVERNOR KAINE ANNOUNCES INVESTMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

Local colleges and universities are set to receive tens of millions of dollars for new campus buildings and renovations of others as part of a proposed $1.65 billion bond package for higher education announced Thursday by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine.

In addition to the bond package, Kaine proposed $9.1 million for student financial aid over the next two years. He also proposed spending $1 million to help finance a new proton-beam cancer therapy site at Hampton University, as well as $7.5 million to help pay for an enhanced accelerator site at Jefferson Lab in Newport News.

Kaine touted the proposed bond package as necessary to efforts by colleges and universities to "help us build a work force prepared to compete in a global economy."

Kaine said, "These investments will help Virginia's higher-education network keep delivering for our future."

The bond package will include money from the Virginia College Building Authority, which gives financing for selected capital improvement projects and equipment purchases at state colleges and universities. The General Assembly must approve funds from the authority for four projects proposed by Kaine to receive money immediately.

Those projects include $38 million for the College of William and Mary's new School of Education and $45 million for a new library at Norfolk State University.

The rest of the package would be financed by a general obligation bond that must be approved by voters. The General Assembly must approve the bond before it can appear on the November 2008 ballot.

At William and Mary, the proposed bond package would give a total of $84.8 million to build the new School of Education, continue work on the Integrated Science Center, replace a cooling plant and finance other utility work.

The proposed amount would be enough to finish construction of the School of Education, which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2010, university spokesman Brian Whitson said.

"It's safe to say we're thrilled with today's news and what it would mean for us here at William and Mary," he said.

William and Mary President Gene Nichol praised the governor's proposal and pledged that he and others at the Williamsburg campus would lobby voters to approve the bond proposal. In a written statement, he said it would "bear welcome fruit on our campus and across the state in research, service and potent economic progress."

As part of the proposed bond package, Christopher Newport University would receive $77 million to build an Integrated Science Center, while Norfolk State would receive $79 million for the library and a new academic and nursing building. The University of Virginia would receive $115.5 million, while Virginia Tech would receive $117.9 million.

Proposed financing

Here's a breakdown of money for local colleges and universities in the proposed bond package announced Thursday by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine:

• Christopher Newport University: $77 million

• College of William and Mary: $84.8 million

• Norfolk State University: $79.2 million

• Old Dominion University: $87.3 million

• Thomas Nelson Community College: $8 million

• Tidewater Community College: $65.9 million

• Virginia Institute of Marine Science: $5.4 millio