BATH — Hyde School plans to close its Connecticut campus and consolidate operations in Bath, where renovations costing about $4 million are expected to begin this year.
Hyde on June 15 will close a 150-acre property in Woodstock, Connecticut, that the school sold to Woodstock Academy for $14.25 million, Head of School Laura Gauld said in an interview Tuesday.
“We had been going through some strategic planning, and we were committed to a two-campus model,” she explained, until Hyde last spring received an unsolicited offer from Woodstock Academy to buy the Connecticut campus.
Although Hyde at first politely declined, the offer began a conversation, leading Hyde officials to realize that “if we were to consolidate, we could build excellence, we could really commit to one robust, vibrant boarding campus,” Gauld said.
“Given the times, and being able to scale our programs more digitally, without having a bricks and mortar campus, it just began to make sense,” she said. “… Even though it was bittersweet, I do think it is an incredible opportunity for Hyde School.”
Hyde will approach renovations to its approximately 155-acre Bath campus at 616 High St. in phases.
The first, $4 million leg will involve upgrades to the campus center – enlarging the theater and meeting spaces, as well as improving the student mail room and creating a gallery for student work displays, along with a new lounge space and reception hall.
The school is in the midst of master planning, and trying to increase scholarships to attract more middle-class families.
After it has city approvals in hand, Hyde officials hope to break ground this summer, with renovations complete next spring. Hyde has hired John Whipple of Portland-based Whipple-Callender Architects to work on the project.
Enrollment in Bath is currently about 150-155, which could increase to about 185 next year with the addition of underclassmen from Woodstock. Ten faculty members would be also be added, Gauld said, to maintain a student-teacher ratio of 6-1.
The school draws students from all over the world, she noted.
“Our campus can probably hold 200, 210, over time, but we don’t want to jump too quickly; we want to have responsible growth,” Gauld said, explaining that additional dorm space – planned for later in Hyde’s work plan – would be required for that capacity.
Hyde has been in Bath since Joe Gauld founded the school in 1966, and occupied the Woodstock campus for 20 years.
This image from Portland-based Whipple-Callender Architects shows renovations planned for Hyde School’s campus center in Bath.