UVM Purchases Trinity

The University of Vermont Board of Trustees announced plans last week to acquire the entire campus of Trinity College, located on Colchester Avenue in downtown Burlington.

The 14.3 million dollar purchase will expand UVM’s main campus by more than 20 acres and grant access to 17 new buildings.

President Fogel expressed his excitement in an announcement to students, declaring the purchase “a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the University.”

Although no definite plans are yet in place for the property, projected uses include new classroom and administrative complexes, interim office space for the temporarily lost space at University Heights and Perkins Geology facility construction projects, and the continued use of five dorms for senior and graduate student housing.

The University also plans to consolidate programs and offices currently dispersed throughout Burlington and which occupy leased space.

The funds the University will save once these leases are no longer necessary will contribute to the $14.3 million purchase.

Current leasing of space on the Trinity campus to outside parties will serve as an additional source of revenue.

But the major funding for the purchase will come from one of the University’s existing bonds and will not detract from UVM’s general funds.

Some students regarded the new acquisition with skepticism.

“It’s great that we’re moving ahead, but we should focus more on improving what we have before reaching out for other things,” said senior Kate Smith.

But University spokesmen insist that the purchase of Trinity College does not portend major changes for UVM.

“We don’t see this as a blueprint for substantial growth, but it will give us some flexibility,” said Enrique Corredera, director of University Communications.

Other students agreed, and did not foresee the new property greatly impacting their lives.

“Personally, I don’t think it’s going to affect me. It’s just a larger campus to travel,” said junior Elijah Lloyd.

Despite differing interpretations of how the additional space will shape the future of UVM, administrators from both schools are optimistic regarding the decision.

At last week’s press conference announcing Trinity’s acceptance of UVM’s bid on the property, Trinity president, Sister Jacqueline Marie Kieslich, expressed her hope for the changeover, stating,

“Although the decision to close the college was not easy for any part of the [Trinity] college community, this transition to the University of Vermont will give consolation that what was begun and nurtured on these acres and within these walls will continue to serve the citizens of Vermont.” Trinity spokespersons declined to identify the other bidders.

The decision to close Trinity College was made due to financial problems and low enrollment in July of 2000 by its board of trustees and an executive council of the Vermont Sisters of Mercy, the school’s founders.

The school was founded in 1925 and has approximately 5,000 alumni.