Vermont State Colleges to receive $72 million bond

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(Host)    Castleton State College has plans for almost $26 million worth of improvements to the school.

The funding will come from a $72 million bond approved by the Vermont State College Board of Trustees to finance upgrades throughout the system.

VPR’s Nina Keck reports.

(Keck)   David Wolk, President of Castleton State College, is understandably excited.   Construction and renovation projects he announced today add up to the biggest investment in the college’s history.    

(Wolk) "It starts with a renovated and enlarged modernized campus center.  It’s a building that hasn’t been touched since it was built 37 years ago – with new student activity spaces, conference areas.   We’re going to expand our college store and mailroom, put tin a new convenience store and improve dining facilities."

(Keck)  A new communications department will be built with a state of the art TV and radio station.   A small theater is planned.   The school’s athletic fields will be upgraded and a new mini stadium with lights and astro-turf will be built.

(Wolk) "We believe we  are in competition with other colleges particularly other out of state public colleges with whom we compete for students.  This is something that we need to do for the future."

(Keck)  Wolk says the college, which has about two thousand students, will increase private fundraising to support the facilities.   He says there will also be a $300 per semester student activity fee.  

If all goes as planned, Wolk says they hope to have most of the work completed by the fall of 2009.  

While Castleton will receive the largest share of the $72 million proposed bond, each of the five schools will receive funds.   Johnson State College will receive $9 million.  Lyndon College President Carol Moore says they’ve planned upgrades and renovations totaling $13 million.

(Moore) "Well, it’s critically important because our facilities have run down a bit because of the fact that the state has not given us capital funding monies.   And we haven’t for instance, had a new building or a totally revised building for almost twenty years at Lyndon.   So, we have grown and we need space.  And we need more quality space for our programs to be successful."

(Keck)   Moore says students today are savvy consumers and if the state colleges hope to attract them, they need modern, well appointed learning environments to do it.  

For VPR news, I’m Nina Keck.

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