05 Jun 2021
June 5, 2021

7:35 Founders Hall [Stuck in Vermont 640] Saint Michael’s College – Environmental resource project

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7:35 Founders Hall [Stuck in Vermont 640]

StuckinVermont

Founders Hall [Stuck in Vermont 640]

Founders Hall is the oldest building on the Saint Michael’s College campus in Colchester. The Catholic school dates back to 1904, and over the college’s lifetime, Founders Hall has filled many roles: chapel, dormitory, library, dining hall, classroom, gymnasium and administrative offices. The structure began as an 1860s farmhouse and was transformed in the early 1900s into the massive four-story brick establishment that anchors the intersection of Route 15 and Lime Kiln Road.

The price tag for renovating this iconic edifice was estimated to be $12 million to $15 million, and after extensive deliberations, it was decided that the building was no longer salvageable. But instead of taking this historic structure down with a wrecking ball, a crew is slowly stripping it of any useful items that can be repurposed. The copper pipes, cast-iron radiators, wires, slate and bricks will find new homes.

Eva got a tour of the partially picked-over building with James “Buzz” Surwilo of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and Charles Wadleigh of Casella Construction. She met Patrick Branley of Wardsboro Brick Salvage as he removed old cement from each of the salvaged bricks with a hammer. She also got a peek inside the Saint Michael’s archives and spoke with archivist Elizabeth Scott about the building’s significance to the college.

The cupola, or bell tower, crowned with a cross — which can be seen on the St. Mike’s logo — came down in mid-May and will be restored by the college. The rest of the building will be demolished by September, and a park is planned for the space. The bell tower will sit in its original spot as a memorial to the building.

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