BENNINGTON — Southwestern Vermont Health Care’s purchase of the 371-acre former Southern Vermont College campus has been finalized.
SVHC, the corporate parent of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, acquired the campus and buildings for $4.65 million.
Spokesperson Ashley Jowett said the closing occurred on Wednesday as planned.
The health care organization had earlier entered the highest bid for the property during a Dec. 11 hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court-Vermont Division.
“SVHC and the SVC property are connected geographically as neighbors and through our history,” said Thomas Dee, president and CEO of SVHC. “We are eager to partner with the town and others to maintain and enhance the importance and value of this tremendous community asset.”
“Bennington is extremely fortunate to have SVHC purchasing the former SVC campus but this ‘closing’ is only a beginning,” said Donald Campbell, chair of the Bennington Select Board.
“For this to work, the town will need to support the SVHC effort at many levels, both logistically and possibly even financially. They have taken all the risk, now we need to help them toward great community outcomes,” he said.
“I am very happy that SVC is under responsible ownership once again,” said Town Manager Stuart Hurd. “It is my understanding that SVHC is looking forward to working with the community to determine how best to bring the entire property into beneficial and productive use. I look forward to the work ahead. This is one of the truly good news stories of 2020.”
While no specific plans have been discussed publicly, SVHC officials said they will work with town staff to create a long-term plan for use of the land and buildings.
The small private college closed in May 2019, and in August of this year the board of trustees voluntarily entered the college corporation into the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, leading toward liquidation of real estate and other assets.