The sale of, from left to right, the Gary Library, Martin House and the Crowley Center at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier has fallen through. File photo by Peter D’Auria/VTDigger

A deal to sell three buildings on the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ Montpelier campus has fallen through, according to administrators. But a second deal for two other buildings is pending. 

In February, the Vermont College of Fine Arts, which plans to stop hosting on-campus programs, told community members that it had reached a deal to sell three campus buildings: the Gary Library, Martin Hall and the Crowley Center.

The buyer, a local organization called 150 Main Street, LLC, planned to open a health and wellness center in the buildings, administrators said. 

But that deal is now off.  

“That agreement has fallen through,” Katie Gustafson, the college’s vice president for finance and administration, told faculty in a June 2 email obtained by VTDigger. “They were a wonderful group to work with but at this point they are not in a position to move forward.”

Leslie Ward, the president of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, said in an email that the college is “evaluating” other potential buyers “to ensure they share our commitment to serving the community and will continue to enrich the campus and city,” she said. 

“There’s not really a whole lot to say about it honestly,” Casey Ellison, the principal of 150 Main Street, said in an email to VTDigger. “We were trying to be diplomatic about it but it’s just that the price was too high for our business model… And we really couldn’t figure that out without doing all the due diligence first.”

Ellison did not say how much the buildings would cost.  

A year ago, VCFA — which offers six low-residency master’s degrees in film, graphic design, music composition, visual art and creative writing — announced plans to end in-person programs and sell or lease campus buildings. 

The college will host residencies at other liberal arts schools: Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. 

That decision sparked an outpouring of frustration and sadness from faculty, alumni and students. But the school appears to be following through with its plans. 

In the same email sent this month, Gustafson told faculty that The New School of Montpelier, an independent school for general and special education, “has signed an agreement to purchase Alumnx Hall and Bishop Hatch, the two buildings where they currently occupy the ground floors.” The sale will likely be finalized later this year, she said. 

Meanwhile, an unnamed separate “educational institution” has expressed interest in buying a slate of other campus buildings, including Noble Hall, Dewey Hall and Glover Halls. 

“We will share additional information when we are able,” Gustafson wrote.

VTDigger's education reporter.