Agency History

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Photo of Wimmer Building
Known as “The Wimmer Building,” this space in downtown Christiansburg served as the main office for New River Valley Community Services from 1986 – 1997. The building currently serves as headquarters for the Christiansburg Police Department. (NRVCS file photo)

The beginnings of what is now known as NRVCS (New River Valley Community Services) date back to the summer of 1968, when Captain C.A. Wharton, Jr. of the Virginia Department of Mental Hygiene and Hospitals spoke to the Blacksburg Mental Health Association about the advantages of a comprehensive mental health and mental retardation program.

A committee was appointed by the Blacksburg Mental Health Association (BMHA) in early 1969 to survey and study mental health and mental retardation facilities in the Montgomery County – Radford area. That study led the BMHA to adopt the following resolution on February 18, 1969:

“In order to take advantage of State and Federal aid to the Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation programs, it is moved that the Blacksburg Mental Health Association recommend to the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, that in conjunction with the governing bodies of the counties of Floyd, Giles and Pulask, and the City of Radford, they appoint a Board to function under the provisions of Chapter 10 of Revised Title 37, Statutes of Virginia, and that if any of the above mentioned communities do not desire to participate in the project that the Board be appointed from those mentioned above who do desire to participate.”

A Steering Committee, composed of representatives from the governing bodies of each jurisdiction and sponsoring organizations, met at Radford College in May, 1969. This Committee went on record as unanimously favoring the appointment of the Board.

During the spring and summer of 1969, the New River Valley Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services Board was established by the five New River Valley jurisdictions, and was comprised of twelve members.