Vermont State Colleges Consider a Combined Campus in Downtown Brattleboro
Two Vermont State Colleges are looking to expand into the southern part of the state. The Community College of Vermont -- or CCV and Vermont Technical College already have outposts outside of Brattleboro. But they're working on joining forces to build a shared campus in the heart of the city.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was born in Brattleboro. He calls it culturally rich -- but he's worried it might not stay that way. Shumlin says it's lacking in educational opportunities found elsewhere in the state. He says that's because funds for higher education often end up in cities closer to Montpelier -- Vermont's capital. But Shumlin says that practice isn't economically viable for the region or the state.
"I kind of call it the 'Forgotten Kingdom.' Brattleboro, Windham County, Bennington County get left behind. And when I talk to employers they say we have jobs Governor -- we have jobs. We just need more trained young people in the fields, the disciplines where we have jobs."
Shumlin says CCV will develop its math, science, technology and agricultural programs with an emphasis on food systems. And he says Vermont Tech will expand it's nursing program. The executive director of Brattleboro's Chamber of Commerce -- Jerry Goldberg -- says a downtown campus combining those concentrations would turn Brattleboro into the 'college town' it hints of.
"To have a whole new cohort -- whether they be teachers, administrators or students -- of people who are here all the time. Not just in tourist season of course, but on those cold January days. This would be an injection into the downtown -- not only in the economy but in the entire feeling of our downtown."
Shumlin says the Vermont legislature approved two-million dollars for the project in the 2013 state budget. He says the new campus could be open as soon as next fall.