College gets state approval to demolish Founder’s Hall

by Matt Heller

Executive Editor

Saint Michael’s College heard Tuesday that the State of Vermont has given the green light for the demolition of Founder’s Hall. District Environmental Commission #4, which serves Chittenden County, issued a land use permit to allow the removal. This permit also authorizes the construction of walkways and a new lawn area. Founder’s Annex will be preserved. 

The college will also remove the belfry atop Founder’s Hall in a way that it can be preserved and viewed by members of the college community, according to the permit that was granted.

As part of the permit, the college must do the following before the demolition of Founder’s Hall takes place:

  • Document and list eight buildings in the State Register of Historical Places: Jean Marie Hall, The Center for Women & Gender, Observatory, Cheray Hall, the Quad Complex (Ryan Hall, Alumni Hall, Lyons Hall, Joyce Hall), Alliot Hall, Nicolle Hall, and the Chapel.
  • Develop a Multiple Property Documentation Form that will include a statement on the history of the campus as well as documenting the architectural and historic significance of the newly listed historical buildings.
  • Conduct an Archaeological Resource Assessment for the campus.
  • Complete a Historic Research Documentation Package for Founder’s Hall.

The permit process was lengthened in part because of concerns from an alumnus. In August and September, Sara Dillon ‘77 filed a request for party status and requested a public hearing. The commission denied the requests because it determined that Dillon failed to show why her interest differed from that of the general public and because she does not own adjoining property to the college, nor does she live or work near the school. Dillon was one of three documented alumni who voiced concern over the demolition of Founder’s Hall. 

It is unsure when the demolition will begin, but a message sent on Monday by Associate Director of Facilities Joel Ribout stated that the walkway between Cheray and Founder’s Hall would be closed for the week to run a new electrical service to the Annex. The permit outlines that all work should be completed by October 1, 2023, unless an extension is approved. According to the application for the permit, the demolition will take a year.