Officials at the College of St. Joseph are hoping to find the next steps for the institution that will keep it alive and the campus active, after economic forces caused the college to close as a degree-granting institution in 2019.
Like two other colleges in the southern part of the state, Green Mountain College in Poultney and Southern Vermont College in Bennington, the College of St. Joseph, or CSJ, in Rutland closed its doors after the end of the 2018-19 school year.
But, while SVC and GMC have looked at selling buildings and property, Jennifer Scott, president of the college, has been trying to find a way to keep the campus in use. The current plan is to create the CSJ Center for Excellence and Innovation.
Plans for the center would preserve some elements of education. Scott has said she would like to see CSJ authorized to confer degrees at some point in the future.
Discussions about the center, which is being developed with partners Vermont Innovation Commons and Vermont Works, call for a partnership between public and private agencies. Campus buildings would provide some space that can be used for developing companies and some space that could be used for working or living.
A feasibility study found that the creation of the center is possible. On Dec. 27, Scott said CSJ staff and their partners are still working on the suggestions from the study and making progress.
She said they are bringing together partners to discuss complementary uses for the college's 117-acre site.
Administrators are also looking at the cost of renovating campus buildings and increasing their energy efficiency.
She acknowledged some of these steps may not be visible to the public.
“It may not seem like there's a lot going on, but there is,” Scott said.
— Patrick McArdle