Vermont's venerable state university is buzzing with activity once again as its summer break comes to an end. The Burlington Free Press reports that the new school term will bring big changes to the campus as the college undertakes several significant building and renovation projects:
- The Wills, Buckham, and Chittenden dorms, sometimes known as "The Shoeboxes", are slated for demolition and replacement. Demolition and removal costs are expected to run between $1 million and $2 million. UVM is seeking a "private developer to finance, build, and manage" a 450-650 bed dormitory for first-year students. The shoeboxes currently house approximately 390 students. The new building would also be home to a cafeteria able to accommodate up to 900 diners. The partnership the university envisions is similar to the arrangement with the privately owned apartment-style Redstone Lofts on the Redstone campus.
- The dining area located in the Given Atrium, which serves the College of Medicine, has received upgrades totaling near $1 million.
- The Taft School, located on South Williams Street and owned by the Burlington School District, will likely house UVM programs at some point in the near future. The old school building was a bequest of Burlington Lawyer Elihu B. Taft whose 1928 will had previously been interpreted to prohibit sale or lease outside the district. A 2008 judicial ruling seemed to open to door broader uses. The school district and the university have entered into a long-term lease but UVM is seeking a declaratory judgement from the Superior Court before moving operations into the building.
- The University has acquired the former Phi Delta Theta fraternity house located at 439 College Street for $713,000. The building, which will be occupied by the Alpha Delta Pi sorority until next summer, was built in 1924 and is assessed by the city at $930,000. The building sits upon approximately one acre of land which is currently assessed at $924,000 for a total value of over $1.8 million.
- UVM plans to significantly revamp the Billings building in order to house the Special Collections, currently located in Bailey/Howe Library. The building is also projected as the new home for Holocaust Studies, the Center for Research on Vermont, and the new Humanities Center. Estimated costs for the project have ranged between $10 million and $18 million but school officials indicate they believe the more modest $10 million plan is more viable in the short-term.
- Finally, Alumni House, located at 61 Summit Street is undergoing renovations to better suit the property as a gathering place for alumni visitors and office space for the UVM Foundation.