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$1.1 Million USDA Loan Enables Compass School To Expand And Upgrade Westminster Campus

Jacqueline Susmann
Release Date
May 21, 2014

During a school assembly in Westminster Tuesday, Vermont Lt. Governor Phil Scott, staff members of Vermont’s Congressional Delegation, and officials from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) joined students and school officials to celebrate the construction of a $1,105,000 arts and science expansion at the Compass School.

Compass School is a small independent school that serves about 100 Vermont and New Hampshire students in grades 7 through 12. The loan will enable the school to build a 1,600-square-foot addition, make several energy efficiency upgrades to the existing and new heating and cooling systems and refinance existing debt.

"USDA Rural Development aims to help create thriving rural communities, and providing rural children with diverse educational opportunities is core to that mission" said USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director Ted Brady. "By investing in the Compass School, Rural Development is investing in the future of our community."

Compass School’s Director Rick Gordon said the new improvements will help Compass School more effectively incorporate arts into their curriculum and improve hands-on science education with state of the art facilities, all while creating a positive first impression in entering the building.

"We have always had strong learning experiences in school and are known for engaging students in active learning through multiple modalities,” said Gordon. “It will help immensely to have better facilities, especially for arts and science, in which students and teachers can explore ideas, interact with materials, and express their thinking."

Construction on the new facility is expected to be complete when students return to school for the 2014-15 school year in the fall.

"This represents an investment in two of Vermont's greatest natural resources: our environment and our children," said Lt. Governor Phil Scott. "Only good things can come from helping a school lower its carbon footprint while at the same time increasing the enriching, well-rounded learning opportunities it offers its students."

"Thanks to USDA Rural Development funding, the Compass School will save on energy costs, provide additional classroom space and assure learning opportunities for students and families into the future," said U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch in a delegation statement. "We are pleased to support grants that strengthen communities and strengthen educational opportunities in our rural towns."

Rural Development invests in non-profit organizations and municipalities which provide essential services to their rural communities. In 2013 alone, USDA Rural Development invested over $2.3 million in 12 separate community facilities in Vermont and New Hampshire. USDA has made Community Facility grants and loans to libraries, town halls, healthcare facilities, arts venues, fire departments, and ambulance services in recent years.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.

USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $197 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont/New Hampshire Rural Development Website (www.rurdev.usda.gov/nh-vtHome.html) or contact USDA RD at (802) 828-6000.