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Questions and Answers About The Northampton Campus

Where is Clarke in the process of selling the property?

The deadline to receive proposals was the end of July. The Board of Trustees has since reviewed proposals, had some presentations made and have decided to follow-up on one of those proposals to try and reach an agreement. We still hold the same goals for the sale. We are seeking someone who will be a good neighbor, who cares about the look of the property and who will offer us what we think is a fair price. In regard to these goals, we feel positive about the proposal we have chosen to follow-up on and hope to reach an agreement.

Why are you considering putting parts of the Northampton property on the market?
Increasingly, Clarke is serving children in their homes and neighborhood schools. The majority of students currently enrolled in our school program are day students. Therefore, we no longer need a large residential campus to fulfill our mission. Rather than continue to put resources into maintaining buildings we no longer need, we will use those resources for programs that directly benefit students.

Couldn’t you rent or lease parts of the property, rather than selling?
In the past year, a great deal of time went into working on an array of leasing options with various potential tenants, but to date we have not found any matches that are viable. One building has been listed for lease for over a year, and we also approached potential tenants we thought would be good fits for other buildings. We have had leasing discussions about almost every building on campus at some point over the last year, including extended conversations with several other non-profits about various spaces. We have also explored various alterative uses for the pool and gymnasium. Unfortunately, none of these options have proven workable so far.

Is Clarke going out of business?
No! All of the programs and services currently offered on the Northampton campus will continue, and there will be no interruption of service to students and families. We are committed to maintaining our K-8 school program, as well as our programs for infants and toddlers and students in the mainstream.

Where would Clarke’s programs be located if parts of the property were sold?
Plans for the future of the property are still under discussion by the Board of Trustees. If the decision is made to put parts of the property on the market, we would likely retain some portion of the campus and consolidate operations into that portion. Whatever decision is made regarding our facilities, Clarke will continue to operate all of our current programs and services and there will be no interruption of service to students and families.

Who might potentially buy the property?
Clarke’s property is zoned for Educational, Agricultural, and Residential use. Therefore, no retail businesses would be permitted to purchase or build on the property.

How fast will all this all happen?
If a decision is made to put parts of the property on the market, it could potentially be several years before a sale is completed. Until that time, we will continue to operate as usual. On Thursday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. Clarke will hold an informational meeting on our campus (in Bell Hall, 45 Round Hill Road), to answer questions from our neighbors, supporters, and the public on this topic. Clarke’s Board of Trustees will meet later this fall, and will likely make a decision about the property. If the decision is made to put the property on the market, a Request For Proposals will go out, and Clarke will begin reviewing proposals from potential purchasers. An additional public announcement will be made when a decision has been reached.

You recently changed your name. Is that related to the potential property changes?
Last spring, the name of the organization as a whole, including all five East Coast campuses, became Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech. Our new name better describes what we do – teaching children to listen and talk – and helps families, professionals, and the public better understand the important work we do. Over the last two years, Clarke has been engaged in a comprehensive strategic analysis process that has involved Clarke Trustees, staff, alumni, supporters, and members of the community. The name change and consideration of the Northampton property have been among the issues considered during the strategic analysis process.

Who do I contact if I have other questions?
Please call Clarke’s main number: 413.584.3450 or e-mail community@clarkeschools.org. You are also invited to attend the Community Meeting on Thursday, September 23, 2010 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in Bell Hall, 45 Round Hill Road.