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Burlington College unveiled their updated campus master plan and announced its intention to partner with Farrell Real Estate as the developer for the mixed housing development and student housing they hope to build on their 32-acre property. The comprehensive plan maximizes the use of the College property, as an urban campus, to fulfill the College’s growth plans as well as benefit the City of Burlington.
The campus master plan, originally drafted by local architecture firm TruexCullins  and later enhanced by Farrell, includes two 200-bed residence halls, a student center, a lakeside pavilion, an outdoor amphitheater for recreation and teaching venues, a facilities operation and maintenance building, a woodworking and sustainable agriculture facility, a sustainable agriculture field, and a public open space with a community access path leading to the bike path and waterfront.
“We are enthusiastic about our choice to work with Eric Farrell and his team. Their experience with this type of project in the Burlington area is extensive, and they understand and support the mission and goals of our College,” said President Christine Plunkett . “While we expect the financing of this plan to be complex, with many details still to be worked out, we are confident the end result will be a striking and vibrant urban college campus and an attractive local development, which will serve Burlington’s diverse populations well.”
The College plans to develop about half its land for private use, including 30 individual lots for single-family home ownership sites and a 120-unit building for market-rate rentals. Farrell says the goal is to break ground by Spring 2015, allowing 18 months for the permitting process.
“Having been born and raised in Burlington, I’ve always admired this property,” said Farrell. Now as a real estate developer, I am excited about the opportunity it offers to the entire community. I appreciate the confidence Burlington College has placed in me as the leader of its development team.”
The College also hopes to forge partnerships with Champlain Housing Trust  and Cathedral Square . Both organizations would have buildings erected along North Avenue, completing the streetscape to the College’s main building at 351 North Avenue.
Nancy Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer of Cathedral Square Corporation, said “Burlington College has a big vision and Cathedral Square is excited to be a part of it. The service-enriched housing we provide is in high demand, and we welcome this opportunity to develop new senior apartments near a dynamic institution of higher learning.”
Cathedral Square would potentially provide 75 units for senior/congregate housing and Champlain Housing Trust would provide 40 units for affordable housing.
“Champlain Housing Trust is pleased to have this opportunity to support Burlington College in realizing this well thought out plan and thank them for committing to affordable housing as they move forward,” said Brenda Torpy, Chief Executive Officer of Champlain Housing Trust.
Last week, the campus master plan was presented to Mayor Miro Weinberger and other City employees, who were excited to see growth in housing options for the City of Burlington, which currently has a vacancy rate of less than one percent. “I am pleased to see Burlington College making progress on its ambitious plans to create a campus,” said Mayor Weinberger. “The revised proposal to establish new housing opportunities for families, seniors, students, and low-income Burlingtonians generally is in line with the Administration’s housing goals and worthy of careful consideration.”
This plan will enable the College to provide more student housing to meet its growing enrollment needs, as well as to maximize the property for its best sustainable use. The College anticipates that the revenue from the private development will significantly reduce its debt from purchasing the campus in 2010.
Further, the College is currently raising funds to open the 1880s orphanage building for much needed additional classroom, administrative, and public space open to the community. In the short time since the College moved to the location, enrollment has grown 23 percent and the need for additional space is pressing. Plunkett recently announced the receipt of a $50,000 gift towards the safety and code work needed to allow for occupancy of that portion of the building.
President Plunkett welcomes neighbors and the public to attend her regularly scheduled “Breakfast with the President” on the third Friday of each month, to see the campus master plan and provide input.
You may also read more at
Mixed housing development key to Burlington College plan, 
Burlington Free press, by Tim Johnson
College to use half its property for city housing, 
WPTZ, by Lauren Victory
For more details on the campus master plan or Breakfast with the President, contact Coralee Holm, Director of Community Relations at (802)923-2314 or cholmburlington [dot] edu.