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February 23, 1999

College Announces Municipal Building Financing Proposal

College would provide up to $3 million to the Town of Middlebury in exchange for present site and building. Site would become a park.

Middlebury College has announced the terms of a proposal it has made to Town of Middlebury officials to provide funding for the construction of a new municipal building at any new site the town may select. In exchange for the funding, the Town would convey to the College the buildings and property that comprise the site of the existing municipal building and gymnasium. The College will not participate in the renovation of the existing municipal building or in rebuilding the facility on the present site.

Specific terms of the proposal are as follows:

  • The College would provide financial assistance for land and construction costs to a limit of $3 million. Payment would be in installments to meet the principal and interest obligations of a bond taken out by the Town to cover the cost of the project.
  • The College would bear all costs of razing the present municipal building and gymnasium to construct a park on the site. The Town would support the College's requests for approvals to conduct the work.
  • The transaction between the Town and the College would be incorporated into a renewal and extension of the ten-year agreement between the Town and the College.
  • Should the Town choose the Twilight Hall site, designs for renovations and additions to the current building would require careful planning to preserve the historic character of the building and the property.
  • If at any point during the period covered by the renewal and extension of the ten-year agreement, the tax liability of the College should change in such a way as to alter the College's current tax liability, the dollars paid by the College to amortize this bond would be treated by the Town as counting toward the meeting of that tax obligation.
  • According to Middlebury College President John M. McCardell, Jr., the proposal by the College to participate in the construction of a new municipal building would spare the taxpayers of Middlebury the entirety of the additional tax burden required to amortize the bond required for funding the project. "This is not an invitation to spend $3 million," said McCardell. "Nor does it seek to dictate to the Town where a new building should be located," he said. "We deliberately chose to make this proposal only after the site selection committee had completed its work. The Town remains free to decide the site for a municipal building. This proposal is an expression of a willingness on the part of the College to participate in the planning and construction of a town hall on a site chosen by the Town. We look forward to learning how the select board wishes to proceed," said McCardell.
  • The College's intentions in seeking to acquire the site of the present municipal building are based on its interest in creating a park at the current location. McCardell believes the park would constitute an attractive approach to the College from the Town, and to the Town from the College.