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Marlboro College plans to move grad programs on campus - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Marlboro College plans to move grad programs on campus

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. -

A big consolidation is underway at Marlboro College that is moving 100 students out of downtown Brattleboro.

Marlboro College was formed in 1946, partially as a way to get soldiers re-integrated back into society after the war.  In the mid 1990s it expanded. That expansion happened in downtown Brattleboro with the creation of a new graduate program. But changes are once again in store for Marlboro College. "There are enormous educational benefits," said Marlboro College President Kevin Quigley.

When Quigley first came to campus a year and-a-half ago he noticed a huge gap.  Roughly 200 undergraduate students enjoy the sprawling 600 acre campus in Marlboro, while the 100 graduate students receiving degrees in management and education took classes in a building in downtown Brattleboro.  "Colleges, like institutions all over, have to change, and this change has lots of upside potentials to enhance our learning community in ways that is going to improve the education and opportunities for our students," Quigley said.

Consolidation brings the grad students to the main campus. The college-owned building acquired 20 years ago is being sold. "And that will free up a significant amount of the college's assets, enable us to pay down some debt -- almost eliminate -- which will strengthen our balance sheet,"  Quigley said. Which in turn will provide more capital for campus improvements.  Quigley says the consolidation will also make the college system more efficient and make better use of resources.  

Students in the self-governing student body helped make the move a reality. "Having graduate students who are in the marketplace, running businesses, teaching in schools are sort of exemplars of what it means to take critical thinking into action and be practical examples of what one could do after graduation," said Solomon Botwick-Ries, a Marlboro senior.

"We were sad to see them go," said Kate O'Connor with the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce. Brattleboro has been working to reinvent itself, especially since the closure of the nearby Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.  O'Connor say losing the college kids downtown simply opens up another opportunity.    "An evolution of what's happening downtown, and you know what ever that space is used for, whether it is office space or whatever creative space it is used for, I think it is going to add to the downtown."

As for the building, a possible sale is in the works.  College officials say while the students may be leaving, Marlboro College will continue to have a presence in the downtown in some form moving forward.  

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