By Katy Savage
The shuttered Green Mountain College has hit the market with no sales price.
The private liberal arts college in Poultney, which was founded in 1834, is listed for sale by Colliers International in Boston.
V/T Commercial owner Tony Blake, who is representing the property locally, is looking for bidders. There is no sales price and no minimum bid requirement.
“We’ll entertain anything,” Blake said. “Right now, it’s a shotgun approach.”
The sale includes the dormitory buildings with 654 beds, all the furniture, fixtures and equipment, along with administrative offices, lecture halls, a 400-seat theater/auditorium and a working farm.
“It’s completely, 100 percent turn key and really in pristine shape,” Blake said.
There’s already been some interest, Blake said. About 50 organizations have inquired about the facility.
“There’s some interest internationally to open it up and bring students to the campus to learn more about reusable energy,” Blake said.
The 155-acre facility, with 23 buildings totaling approximately 450,000 square feet, held its final commencement in May. Trustees voted in January to close the college due to declining enrollment at a time when the school was facing $21.5 million in debt.
“We didn’t have much choice,” said President Bob Allen of the sale.
About 200 residents attended a meeting in Poultney in the spring to discuss the future of the campus in the 1,600-person town. Some wanted GMC to operate as a satellite for other colleges.
“Of course the challenge in higher education is finding institutions that want to expand and create another campus,” Blake said.
In recent years, GMC has consistently been ranked first in the nation for sustainability. The school’s HVAC heating system was replaced in 2010 with a wood-fueled heating biomass system that covers all of the buildings. In 2011, GMC became a climate-neutral campus.
Green Mountain College is one of three colleges that closed this year in the state. The College of St. Joseph in Rutland closed this spring, too, along with Southern Vermont College in Bennington.
“It’s an industry that’s strained,” Allen said. “The demographics are working against all these colleges. There just aren’t as many high school graduates and some are not going on to a four-year education.”
Allen, who is staying in his position through July, said 80 percent of the faculty at Green Mountain College have found other jobs. Allen himself hopes to find another job working in education on a consulting basis.
Until a new buyer is found, the GMC grounds are being maintained with 24/7 security on campus.
Allen said he hopes to have tours with prospective buyers this week. Allen has previously said the campus is worth about $20 million.
“We’d like to get more than $21.5 million but we won’t know until people start to visit and offers start to come in,” Allen said.
By Katy Savage