Clarke Northampton News
April 2013 Dear Member of the Clarke Community,
I am writing to inform you that the sale of Clarke's excess Northampton property to OPAL Real Estate has been finalized. We are pleased that under OPAL’s plans the lovely historic buildings and grounds will be preserved, especially since we will continue to have a strong presence on Round Hill Road.
Clarke’s Northampton administrative offices are now located in Bell Hall, at 45 Round Hill Road, joining most of our other Northampton programs including: Clarke’s Infant-Toddler Program, tVISIT Program, Preschool Program, Mainstream Services, CEE Program, Smith/Clarke Masters Program and the Clarke Hearing Center. Clarke’s business office is located in Tilly Hall (located directly behind Bell), and Clarke’s K-8 Program is co-located with Leeds Elementary School.
Since announcing plans to sell the property, we’ve been very open about our reasons for doing so. The beautiful buildings so beloved by our community have become aged and inefficient, and we could no longer justify the substantial cost of maintaining all of them. Also, while our classrooms continue to be regarded as national models of excellence, more and more of our services are taking place off-site, with our professionals traveling to mainstream schools, communities and homes, or providing services via the Internet. The resources needed to maintain the vast campus with underutilized facilities will now be redirected to serving the growing numbers of children and families who need our help.
Clarke’s physical space in Northampton will now be consolidated, but our impact is growing exponentially. Today, we are helping more people, in more places and in more ways than ever before. In recent years, Clarke’s programs and services have experienced tremendous growth. Our mission of teaching children with hearing loss to listen and talk has never changed, but the way we fulfill that mission looks very different. The number of infants and toddlers we serve has more than doubled in the past four years, and our mainstream services have had even stronger growth in that time. Using distance learning technology, Clarke professionals are now able to reach children and families anywhere, and the same technology is helping to increase the number of teachers we train in our Smith College-affiliated Master’s program.
We believe that the final sale price was a fair one, within the valuation we received from independent experts. The proceeds will improve our finances, but not to a major degree. We will receive payments over the next five years, and the first larger payment being received is less than a quarter of our annual operating budget. I share this information with you because, while we are pleased that the sale is complete, we still need your support to continue our work of transforming the lives of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Their lives are filled with possibilities that were unimaginable even just a short time ago, but we need your help to turn those possibilities into reality.
Thank you and best regards,
Bill Corwin President Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech