BENNINGTON — Southwestern Vermont Health Care has hired Brian C. Lent, the former general manager of Dailey Precast Inc. in Shaftsbury, to direct the health system’s efforts to repurpose the former Southern Vermont College campus.
SVHC acquired the 371-acre former college campus through a bankruptcy auction in December. The leadership of the health system, through the direction of its board of directors, has expressed a commitment to develop a long-range plan to maximize the use of the campus — including considerations on how the property could enhance community and health-related services for the region.
“Brian was selected for his long experience managing complex projects,” said Thomas Dee, the health care organization’s president and CEO. “We feel he has the skills and background necessary to drive our efforts with this large and exciting effort and to fulfill our aim to restore the campus as a valuable community asset.”
Dee also has said SVHC will work with the town and community members and organizations in developing a strategic plan for the property and its buildings. SVC, a small private institution, closed in May 2019 after several years of increasing debt and declining student enrollment.
According to a media release, Lent has 34 years of management experience. Most recently, he worked as vice president and general manager of Dailey Precast, LLC/Peckham Industries Inc. in Shaftsbury. In that role, he was responsible for all plant and field operations, sales, estimating, engineering, quality, procurement, safety, and human resources.
“Brian is a longtime member of the community and already has connections with many of the people he will be cooperating with,” said Dee. “These relationships and his familiarity with the regulatory environment give him a head start on this important work.”
GRADUATE OF SVC
Lent received a bachelor of science degree in business management and an associate degree in accounting from Southern Vermont College. He also graduated from the General Motors Assembly Division Supervisor Training Program.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me,” Lent said in the release. “The work will require me to use my management experience in an entirely new way. Of course, from a personal perspective as a longtime member of the community, I am eager to see the campus put to good use.”
Lent is expected to begin working with local stakeholders, including the town, to explore opportunities and develop strategies for the former college campus real estate and associated assets.
The campus includes dormitories and an athletic center, as well as the historic Everett Mansion, which the original estate owner, Edward H. Everett, had constructed as a summer home during 1911-14. It has stone walls and is designed in the style of a 14th century English feudal mansion.
The property also includes about 200 acres under a conservation easement held by the Vermont Land Trust, and the trust and SVHC agreed prior to the purchase to continue that agreement. The mostly wooded acreage is around the base of Mt. Anthony and includes hiking trails that have been used by the community as well.