Citing financial struggles, URI decides to close its Alton Jones campus

West Bay

WEST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The University of Rhode Island (URI) has decided to close the Whispering Pines Conference Center and Environmental Education Center at its W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich.

A spokesperson for the university said the Alton Jones centers have been “struggling financially for several years.”

“The decision to close them in early July comes after many efforts by the university to improve the financial situation,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The Alton Jones campus is home to more than 2,300 acres of forests, lakes and farmland and is a commonly utilized spot for conferences, retreats, team building programs and summer camps, according to URI.

The university said keeping the centers open would be “cost prohibitive” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The university said there are currently 17 staff members employed at the campus, which will be placed in available positions at the college’s other campuses to “minimize employment impacts from this decision.” A maintenance crew will continue to oversee the campus.

The university is now trying to determine how the land will be utilized moving forward.

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