51 Main St. remains open

MIDDLEBURY-In a memo sent to faculty and staff via e-mail Feb. 19, Middlebury College President Ron Liebowitz reported that the college will keep its downtown student activity center, located at 51 Main St., open until it is reviewed in December 2009.

Some downtown business operators have complained that that the center competes unfairly with their establishments.

The college Budget Oversight Committee recommended to keep the student activity space open. Leibowitz accepted the committee's recommendation.

"The BOC proposal requires that 51 Main demonstrate that it has a viable business plan and can operate without a subsidy from the College," according to the e-mail. "In addition, under this plan, 51 Main needs to record two consecutive months of profitability between now and December. If it is not able to meet this goal, the college will close 51 Main."

Leibowitz's e-mail memo noted that 51 Main will extend its operating hours and begin advertising immediately.

"(That's) why I am announcing this decision now instead of waiting until the next round of BOC recommendations are completed," Leibowitz noted. "Fifty-one Main has proven itself to be a valuable social alternative for a mix of students, faculty, staff, and townspeople. It is funded by a donor who specifically wishes to support social life at Middlebury, and with this support, giving the project more time to prove itself seems worthwhile."

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