BU’s Outdoor Education Campus to Close
New Hampshire Sargent Center ends programs in August| From Commonwealth | By Jessica Ullian
At Sargent Camp, students mastered sports they would need to know as teachers. Photo courtesy of Boston University Photo Services
The Sargent Center for Outdoor Education (SCOE), Boston University’s environmental education and retreat center in Hancock, New Hampshire, will close in August because of budgetary concerns.
The cost of maintaining the center, which was acquired by the University in 1932 and is currently run by Metropolitan College, is prohibitively high at a time of economic crisis, says MET Dean Jay Halfond. The University is looking to balance its fiscal year 2010 budget, which currently has a $10 million gap.
“This is not a matter of performance,” Halfond says. “Many BU students have benefited by the center’s efforts, and it is a legacy that will not be forgotten. It was simply unsustainable because of the cost of maintaining 700 acres of land in New Hampshire.”
Founded to host the teacher training program for Sargent College, the SCOE — then known as Sargent Camp — was used to help students master swimming and other sports they would be required to know as teachers. Early students slept in tents and bathed in Halfmoon Pond; later, the center’s founder, Dudley Allen Sargent, added a lodge and cabins.
Photo courtesy of Boston University Photo Services
Today, Sargent Center has room for 200 overnight guests in its cabins, dormitories, and canvas tent yurt villages. Since coming under MET’s purview, it has hosted the Residence Life and Orientation and Off-Campus Services offices, the Boston University Scholars, participants in the Upward Bound program, and the Common Ground orientation course held during the summer for new students.
The facility, with twenty-two miles of cross-country skiing and hiking trails that are open to the public, has fifteen permanent employees and adds eighteen to fifty seasonal workers at various times of the year.
All programs booked through August 31, 2009, including this summer’s Adventure Camp, will take place as usual, according to center director Robert Rubendall. “We intend to run all programs and honor all commitments,” he says.