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Southern Vermont College Campus Might Become Home To Boarding High School

An Italian-inspired cascade on the campus of Southern Vermont College. Greenery in the background.
Ric Cengeri
VPR File
The closed Southern Vermont College, in Bennington, may be purchased by a New Hampshire-based boarding school. The purchase would include all of the main campus, although not a nearby arts center.

A New Hampshire boarding school has signed a $4.9 million deal to buy the former Southern Vermont College campus in Bennington. The Oliverian School describes itself as "a non-profit, alternative, college-prep boarding school for adolescents who have not thrived in traditional settings."

Will Laughlin, the head of school and CEO of Oliverian School in Pike, New Hampshire, said the purchase and sales agreement gives Oliverian School three months to examine the campus before putting down nonrefundable deposits. After that point, he said, the school has six months to complete the deal.

"Part of what we need to determine is – beyond the $4.9 million, which is the purchase price, which we're confident about – how much more will it cost to occupy the campus?" said Laughlin. "That's just one figure. And that is, at this point, an unknown."

The purchase would include all of the main campus, but not an art center a couple of miles away that was also part of Southern Vermont College.

"We've made the offer and now we're in the due diligence period," Laughlin said, "where we, you know, really get to look under the hood and see this beautiful, amazing campus – what the guts of it are and what the costs are that are associated with it so that we can, over the next several months, hopefully get to a point where we can pull the trigger and acquire the property."

If the sale goes through, Oliverian School intends to move to Bennington over the summer.

Southern Vermont College closed following its final commencement ceremony last spring, after struggling with declining enrollment.

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Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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