GREENWICH — Brunswick School has purchased a 668-acre farm in Randolph, Vt., to be the site of a new wilderness education program for students that it will launch next fall.
The private boys school bought the Green Mountain Stock Farm for $2.14 million, entirely covered by “extraordinary and exceptionally generous gifts” from two anonymous donors, Headmaster Tom Philip said.
The Brunswick Board of Trustees spent more than a year researching and planning the purchase. They visited the site in April 2017.
The property includes two large farmhouses, totaling more than 9,000 square feet of living space and 13 bedrooms, open fields and a 35-kilometer network of trails.
“We’re very fortunate that the site not only includes so much wilderness, but also buildings that can be so easily adapted to house visiting faculty and students,” Philip said.
Brunswick faculty and administrators are currently developing the school’s new Vermont experiential learning program. Plans now call for small groups of students to spend about 10 days in Vermont during the school year with activities beyond normal classroom time including farm work, with the potential for local internships, the school said.
Randolph is located in central Vermont, about 30 miles south of Montpelier, the state capital. It is home to Vermont Technical College, a hospital, arts center and many farms.
“In the meantime,” Philip said, “Brunswick faculty and staff will be visiting Randolph and staying onsite as our plans continue to evolve.”
Brunswick alumnus Jesse “Sam” Sammis III, chairman of Greenwich’s New England Land Company, approached the school in 2016 with the idea of establishing a permanent home for an “away” program at the vast Green Mountain Stock Farm. Sammis said he and his wife Ginny, a co-owner of the property, were “thrilled” by Brunswick’s acquisition.
“I think the program is going to be spectacular for the boys,” Sammis said. “And I think it’s going to further set Brunswick apart from other private and day schools.”
Sammis owned the property since 1971; Brunswick officially took ownership of it on Sept. 14.
The new property adds Brunswick to a small group of private schools that own second campuses devoted to outdoor education. Horace Mann School in the Bronx, N.Y., owns the John Dorr Nature Laboratory in Washington, Ct. Milton Academy in Milton, Mass, owns The Mountain School in Vershire, Vt. Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., owns the 287-acre Fairfield Farm one mile south of its main campus.
“In Vermont, there will be no televisions, no iPhones or Netflix. Boys will prepare their own food, clean their own rooms, read and work together in groups, and, yes, make their own beds,” Philip said. “More than anything, the Vermont experience will be real, not Photoshopped. Inclusive, not exclusive. Unpredictable, not staged. Such is the stuff, we believe, that serves to prepare young men for life in the near- and long-term.”Read Full Article
The announcement comes just over a month after Brunswick disclosed that it had nearly closed on a deal to acquire 43 acres in backcountry Greenwich from hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones.
That land, owned by Tudor Investment Corporation, is directly across the street from the school’s King Street campus, home to the 504-student Brunswick lower and middle school.
“The acquisition has the potential to nearly double Brunswick’s square footage of classroom space on King Street, add as many as four new playing fields, allow for construction of a state-of-the-art track on our existing campus and would include several units of faculty housing,” Philip said in August.
The new property would allow the school to expand its prekindergarten program and add a STEM Center with robotics and maker spaces, a new performing arts center and a study hall.
The two institutions have not signed a final agreement yet. According to Daniel Griffin, director of institutional communications for Brunswick School, the price for the Tudor Jones property sale will not be announced until an agreement exists.
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