Burlington College plans building project - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington College plans building project

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

"We have a lot of things on the table right now in terms of exactly how we renovate this building," said Christine Plunkett, the president of Burlington College.

Burlington College is breathing life back into buildings that haven't been occupied for more than 40 years. It purchased the 32-acre property from the Roman Catholic Diocese in 2010.

The college hopes to transform the old buildings that were once home to orphans, as well as build a community pavilion, residential halls and public housing on the land.

"This could be sort of a public space, a gallery or larger gatherings and we have small classrooms for our little, tiny groups and their discussions," Plunkett said.

And while spaces like the attic may not have much use for students, it does offer views Plunkett hopes to share with the community.

"We have the lake and we have North Avenue and we have the New North End, the high school right there," she said.

Plans to build on the 32 acres of land will take 10-20 years before being completed. But before Burlington College can begin building anything, they have to figure out how much it will all cost and where this money will come from.

One place the college does not plan to use as a source of funding is tuition. They hope an increase in enrollment will assist with funding.

"We're at 250 students now. This is designed keeping in mind an eventual enrollment of 750, but that's not overnight by any means; it's many years into the future," Plunkett said.

Fundraising and public housing will also provide much of the income the college will need for the project, as well as reduce a portion of the $10 million debt the college was left with after the purchase.

With plans to sell some of the land to private developers to help alleviate the costs, fundraising hasn't begun, and it may take some time.

"There's a tremendous amount of eagerness for fundraising to suddenly launch into high gear here," Plunkett said. "We're not a college that has a large alumni base and a significant way to go out and suddenly draw in a tremendous amount of fundraising."

And until money begins to come in for the new campus, Burlington College will continue to focus on finalizing plans to builder a bigger and better campus.

Private developers interested in building housing units on the land will have until July 31 to submit plans.

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