Lender assumes ownership of former Eagleton School site

GREAT BARRINGTON — The campus of the former Eagleton School has been sold in a foreclosure auction, leaving the fate of a tenant up in the air.

NBT Bank of Great Barrington, the mortgage holder, purchased the property for $1.5 million last month. The mortgage was previously held by Eagleton School Inc., the corporate entity representing the former Eagleton School.

The school closed in April 2016 amid allegations that teachers and staff members abused students.

Eliza Crescentini, executive director of the Children's Study Home, a private, nonprofit day school that leases the property, said school administrators were prepared for this scenario. Her school has no plans to move, but will evaluate the situation at the end of the school year.

"We are looking for a site more centrally located [in the Berkshires]," she said. "Right now, we're sort of waiting for the dust to settle."

The Children's Study Home is a Springfield-based therapeutic school that serves male and female students with learning challenges and disabilities.

The Great Barrington branch of the school is called the Mill Pond School-Great Barrington campus and serves 10 students.

Crescentini said her organization was approached by the bank to purchase the property, but school officials decided they did not need the 40-acre campus.

"We realized that our programming needs wouldn't require the entire [site]," she said.

Crescentini said other entities appear to be interested in the property. The Children's Study Home would be interested in either a purchase or lease of a portion of the property, she said.

Florence Dollar, director of corporate communications for NBT Bank, said the property will be marketed for sale.

The Children's Study Home moved into Eagleton last August.

A state investigation resulted in 19 Eagleton staffers and teachers being charged in connection with the abuse. Many of those cases are still pending in court.

The private year-round school for boys and young men with special needs and disabilities was founded in 1978 by Bruce Bona. He also faces charges in connection with the abuse allegations.

Reach staff reporter Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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