NMH to Consolidate School Into Single Mount Hermon Campus

The Northfield Mount Hermon School Board of Trustees announced plans Saturday to close its Northfield campus and reduce its student population to 750 students by September 2005. The move will create a close-knit community of students for academic support that will better serve the needs of the average NMH student. Andover Summer Session Director Ralph Bledsoe, a former faculty member at NMH, addressed the financial aspects of the decision. “There will be a savings of money from the elimination of transportation between the campuses, the need to service and heat far fewer buildings and the need to pay far fewer staff, administrators and faculty,” he said. He continued, “With a current total of 5,000 acres of land owned and 3,400 in mowed campus space between both campuses, moving to one campus will cut those numbers almost in half.” NMH students need to commute between the school’s two campuses by bus every day for classes. The trips take time out of the academic day and are expensive to operate. The buses operate daily between each of the four periods of the block schedule day, continuing for sports and ending before 8 p.m. study hall with a last trip at 10 p.m. before house closing. “There could be two or three buses running per trip, sometimes one bus,” Mr. Bledsoe said. “Each trip was [made] at a cost of about $100 each.” Preparing the school for the move will take some time. Though the Mount Hermon campus can accommodate all students right now, the Board of Trustees has planned fundraising for better facilities. The trustees hope to construct new student-faculty residences, upgrade the academic and athletic facilities, build a new center for the arts and expand the current library. Mr. Bledsoe said, “They have all the facilities on both campuses, but since [the Northfield campus] has the better arts and performance arts buildings, they will need to be built.” Various changes in the faculty and board structure will also take place over the next few months. The Head of School, Richard W. Mueller, will assume the position of President of the School, while the Associate Head, Tom Sturtevant, will take his place. William Rhodes, class of ’53 at NMH, and chairman of the Board of Trustees said,“Faculty and staff will be integral to the development of the strategic plans.” Mr. Rhodes said that because of the school’s new size, there will be a reduction in the number of faculty and staff positions, proportionate to the size of the student body. Mr. Rhodes said that the move was in the best interest of the school’s future. “The board recognizes its special responsibilities for the Northfield Campus,” he said. He continued, “It intends that the Moody legacy buildings will remain a part of NMH and that the entire campus will be used in a way that continue to fulfill our institution,