Virginia Gov. Mills E. Godwin yesterday visited four Northern Virginia educational facilities as past of a statewide tour to determine their construction needs before drafting his state budget for 1978-80.
Although drumming up support for the state's 125 million Nov. 8 construction bond referendum had nothing to do with his trip," Godwin conceded that of course, we don't fail to mention it."
During a morning stop at the Woodbridge campus of the Northern Virginia Community College, Godwin asked the colleg's president Dr. Richard J. Ernst, about efforts on behalf of the bond referendum.
We're all ready to go: we're just waiting for the lead from your office," Ernst replied. NVCC will receive $8 million for renovation and construction projects at its Annandale and Alexandria campuses if the bond issue is approved.
After a seafood salad and strawberry shortcake luncheon at George Mason University, Godwin told a group of state legislators and university officials that he was glad to hear about the university's board of visitors' decision to strongly support the bond referendum.
George Mason is slated to get $5.4 million from the bond sale. The funds will be used to construct the second half of Robinson Hall, which would house 100 faculty offices, 28 classrooms and a 500 seat dramtic arts theatre.
During the last session of the General Assembly some Northern Virginia legislators expressed dismay at what they regarded as insufficient funds in the 1977 budget and the November bond request for state institutions in Northern Virginia.
So they took advantage of the Godwin's visit yesterday to call his attention to what they believe are the area's need. When Ernst pointed out NVCC's limited space to Godwin, state Sen. Adelard L Brault (D-Faifax) shouted to Ernst, "Emphasize that-that's why we need more money from the budget."
"The more often we get the governor and his administration officials up here (to Northern Virginia), the better," said Del. David G. Brickley (D, Prince William).
In addition to noting Northern Virginia's construction needs. Godwin also mentioned yesterday what the state has already done for the region.
In response to a question about Northern Virginia allegedly being shortchanged in state aid, the governor said, "I think the record speaks eloquently - all you have to do is go around and see it."
In 1966 there was not one community college in all Virginia. Look at the Northern Virginia Training Center (which he had just visited)," Godwin said.
"I'm not trying to suggest they don't have any needs up here." he added, explaining that every part of the state thinks it is neglected by the state government.
Despite supporting the November bond referendum, Godwin said yesterday that all future state construction should be paid for out of the general tax revenues, not bond issues. He said he hoped that if the state's economy continues to improve that "perhaps in the next budget there will be some money left over for more construction programs.