Stuck in Vermont: Founders Hall on Saint Michael’s Campus Is Selectively Dismantled | Stuck in Vermont | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Stuck in Vermont: Founders Hall on Saint Michael’s Campus Is Selectively Dismantled 

Episode 640

Published June 3, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated June 8, 2021 at 4:55 p.m.

Founders Hall is the oldest building on the Saint Michael’s College campus in Colchester. The Catholic school dates back to 1904, and over the college’s lifetime, Founders Hall has filled many roles: chapel, dormitory, library, dining hall, classroom, gymnasium and administrative offices. The structure began as an 1860s farmhouse and was transformed in the early 1900s into the massive four-story brick establishment that anchors the intersection of Route 15 and Lime Kiln Road.

The price tag for renovating this iconic edifice was estimated to be $12 million to $15 million, and after extensive deliberations, it was decided that the building was no longer salvageable. But instead of taking this historic structure down with a wrecking ball, a crew is slowly stripping it of any useful items that can be repurposed. The copper pipes, cast-iron radiators, wires, slate and bricks will find new homes.

Eva got a tour of the partially picked-over building with James “Buzz” Surwilo of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and Charles Wadleigh of Casella Construction. She met Patrick Branley of Wardsboro Brick Salvage as he removed old cement from each of the salvaged bricks with a hammer. She also got a peek inside the Saint Michael’s archives and spoke with archivist Elizabeth Scott about the building’s significance to the college.

The cupola, or bell tower, crowned with a cross — which can be seen on the St. Mike’s logo — came down in mid-May and will be restored by the college. The rest of the building will be demolished by September, and a park is planned for the space. The bell tower will sit in its original spot as a memorial to the building.

Music: Sir Cubworth, “Bittersweet Waltz” & “First Sleep”

Filming dates: 5/21/21, 5/24/21, 5/28/21

This episode of Stuck in Vermont was supported by New England Federal Credit Union.


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About The Author

Eva Sollberger

Eva Sollberger

Seven Days senior multimedia producer Eva Sollberger has been making her award-winning video series, "Stuck in Vermont," since 2007. New episodes appear on the Seven Days website every other Thursday and air the following night on the WCAX evening news. Sign up at to receive an email alert each time a new one drops. And check these pages every other week for insights on the episodes.

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