Vermont College of Fine Arts buys Vermont College campus

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(Host) The Vermont College of Fine Arts has purchased the historic Vermont College campus from Union Institute and University.

The newly formed college will also purchase three masters programs from Union Institute and operate as a separate entity.

Vermont College of Fine Arts president Thomas Greene says the effort started two years ago when Union Institute announced it might sell the Montpelier campus. Greene says it was important to protect a landmark that has been operating as an academic institution since 1868:

(Greene) "For the first time in its history there was a danger that that might not be true. So what really started as an effort to preserve a historic campus and the jobs that are associated with it has really grown, into something bigger and broader, this vision of creating a national center for the fine arts here in Montpelier."

(Host) VCFA says it’s the only low-residency graduate school devoted entirely to fine arts. Currently 250 students are enrolled in programs, and that number is expected to grow. College Vice President Bill Kaplan says interest was heightened after the school was recognized for excellence by a national magazine:

(Kaplan) "We are currently seeing record numbers of enrollment and applications. And I think the fact that we are now an independent institution solely focused on the fine arts, is exciting to the community and the academic world."

(Host) The Union Institute and University and several other education institutions will continue to lease space on the 33-acre campus.

The project cost the school nearly $13 million, and nearly $725,000 was raised by alumni for the purchase. VCFA is planning to celebrate its transition to an independent organization this fall.

AP Photo/Toby Talbot

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