A recent, nationally published list naming “51 Amazing University and College Buildings Across the USA” included one for every state, plus the District of Columbia. M.I.T.’s $300-million Strata Center, designed by world renowned architect Frank Gehry, is on the list. So is Princeton’s 1920s-era “collegiate gothic” stained-glass chapel. The 19th century, Louis XII-style chateau, Ochre Court, at Salve Regina University, is the Rhode Island selection.
And Vermont? Sterling College’s Alfond Draft Horse Barn, built in 2014 with timber harvested from nearby woodlands, is Vermont’s contribution to the list, published in USA Today.
Sterling was one of the first colleges to offer a degree in sustainable agriculture and the first college in the nation to have a minor in Draft Horse Management (now called Draft Animal Power Systems). Students participated in construction of the building on the the barn raising day, helping to place and secure the joinery between the large timbers.
“Sterling College students look at the entire landscape of sustainable agriculture; they learn how to use both small tractors and draft horses for a true mixed power model,” president Matthew Derr said at the dedication of the barn. “They’re keeping the tradition of draft horse farming alive in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.”
Designed by Sterling College faculty Rick Thomas and Green Works owner-builder Makaio Maher, the post-and-beam structure was built with regionally-sourced, locally-milled lumber. It was funded by the Peter Alfond Foundation, the same foundation which recently charged Sterling with a fundraising challenge that, once fulfilled, will build the $1.34 million Peter Alfond Wellness Center. As part of the Sterling campus, the center will serve the entire Craftsbury community.
And while some of the buildings featured on the USA Today list include students strolling the campuses, or athletes in action in arenas, the photo of the Alfond Draft Horse Barn depicts the barn against a cloud-studded sky, a field of green grass in the foreground, and a cow, grazing happily.