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New Technology Sites Extend Reach Of U.Va's Public Services

October 19, 2000 -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 18, unveiled two sites -- one physical and one electronic -- that demonstrate the University of Virginia's increasing "connectedness" throughout the region, the state and the world.

Physical Site

U.Va. is one of the founding partners of the Connected Community Technology Center, a public/private initiative to create a state-of-the-art community center that can help bridge the digital divide.

The 11,500 square-foot center -- a former industrial warehouse located at 999 Grove Street in Charlottesville's Fifeville neighborhood -- includes offices, classrooms and meeting rooms. The initial tenants include Computers4Kids, a non-profit organization that provides refurbished computers to children who don't have computers at home; Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC), which will operate two 25-station computer learning laboratories and a Biotechnology Training Center; the Charlottesville Area School Business Alliance; the CATEC Vocational High School's Virtual Information Academy; a prototype robotics manufacturing facility; and the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council (VPTC).

Other supporters of the Connected Community initiative include the City of Charlottesville, the County of Albemarle, Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology, and the Orange County Schools. Numerous private companies have also provided significant financial and in-kind support for the center. The Entrepreneurial Village, a non-profit organization, helped establish the Technology Center in its new facility.

The center provides a site where residents can learn about and use new technologies. It is also the headquarters of the VPTC Connected Community technology education partnership that focuses on providing Internet resources to residents.

David A. Kalegis, director, University of Virginia Gateway and chairman, Virginia Piedmont Technology Council, sees the public/private partnership as a model for providing technological benefits to area residents.

Electronic Site

At Wednesday’s ceremony Gene Block, U.Va.’s Vice President for Research and Public Service, announced the creation of Outreach Virginia, a Web site describing the hundreds of services and programs that the University provides. With rich color images that represent the University, the variety of people U.Va. serves, and the geographic areas of such services, the Web site offers readers a comprehensive list of such outreach efforts as publications, digital collections, medical care, demographic information, training opportunities, degree programs, and public policy analysis.

"We wanted anyone, particularly those in our local community and throughout the state, to see how the University of Virginia could help make a difference in their lives," Block said.

Located at http://www.virginia.edu/outreachvirginia/, the Outreach Virginia site allows readers to search for services according to the following selection criteria: interest area, geographic region, program type, audience, or a combination of such factors. People can also search the database by entering key words.

With currently about 300 entries, the site offers readers a good understanding of the breadth of programs and services U.Va. provides and explains how to take advantage of them. For example, by clicking on "Commonwealth of Virginia," readers will see nearly 100 entries offering brief descriptions of such services as Bodytalk, a consumer health center; Callaloo, an African-American and African literary journal; and the TEMPO Reading Outreach Program. More entries are being posted weekly.

About 400 public service and outreach programs were identified through an inventory conducted last year by Laura Hawthorne, coordinator of public service.

Posting descriptions of such programs in a comprehensive Web site was one of the early

recommendations of the Public Service Commission that is part of the Virginia 2020 planning process at U.Va. "The unveiling of the Web site is the first concrete outcome of the Public Service Commission’s work," Hawthorne said.

This fall Hawthorne will visit with representatives of chambers of commerce, school boards, local governments, and other community groups throughout Virginia to promote the Web site and the University’s public service and outreach programs.

Contact: Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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Last Modified: Thursday, 19-Oct-2000 14:24:15 EDT
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