Early Ed Center Makes Bid For Austine Campus

Nov 5, 2015

An early education center in Brattleboro is moving ahead with its bid to purchase the former Austine School for the Deaf campus.

The Winston Prouty Center has submitted a purchase and sale agreement for the 177-acres campus, which is in bankruptcy court.

The Austine School for the Deaf opened in 1908 and the school closed at the end of the 2014 school year following years of declining enrollment.

Later that year, the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, which oversaw the school and ran a number of support programs on the Austine campus, declared bankruptcy.

Brattleboro Savings and Loan holds the mortgage and is owed about $2.6 million. The state of Vermont also has a $5.67 million lien against the real estate for appropriations made to the school over the years.

Terms of the purchase and sale agreement have not been made public.

The Winston Prouty Center has about 50 children in its early education program.

The center was looking into expanding at its present location and when the Austine School closed the board investigated the possibility of moving to the campus.

"It would be great to have space where we could not only meet our needs but also collaborate with other nonprofits that might need space. This will create an exciting opportunity to work together in new ways." - Chloe Learey, Winston Prouty Center executive director

Winston Prouty Executive Director Chloe Learey said the early learning center hopes to purchase the campus and rent out space  to other nonprofits that serve children and families.

“It would be great to have space where we could not only meet our needs but also collaborate with other nonprofits that might need space,” Learey said. “This will create an exciting opportunity to work together in new ways."

The campus could become a center where organizations collaborate to better serve families,  Learey said.