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Crotched Mountain Foundation to close Greenfield campus

  • Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/24/2020 4:09:59 PM

The Crotched Mountain Foundation intends to close its Greenfield campus permanently by the end of the year after a unanimous vote from its Board of Directors, according to a press release sent out Tuesday. “By November 1, we plan to have no more residents on our campus, nor in our off-campus staffed adult group homes,” CEO Ned Olney wrote in a separate letter to the public.

The campus is home to Crotched Mountain School, which provides special education services to students in kindergarten through grade 12 and beyond, and an adult residential program for people with disabilities. The campus opened in 1953 when the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center was established to support people with polio.

“Our organization has had financial challenges for many years,” Olney wrote. Ongoing financial challenges including the Great Recession, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic forced the decision, he wrote. “It costs an incredible amount to operate our campus… We have tried many things to help our financial situation, including closing the hospital, moving ATECH Services to the State of NH, and, last year, drastically cutting our budgets and workforce,” he wrote. Due to the pandemic, the school froze admissions, suspended Ready Set Connect services, and increased spending to support their direct care staff, Olney wrote. “I would not change a thing about our response to this crisis. But the hard truth is, these steps meant our plans had to change.”

The Foundation will continue to offer community-based services, which include Ready Set Connect Autism Centers in Manchester, Concord, and Tilton, CMCC Case Management, Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports (CMARS), the Refurbished Equipment Marketplace, and the Adult Shared Living programs, according to the press release.

The campus currently employs just over 300 people and serves 79 students and 26 adults in the educational and residential programs, according to campus officials. At the height of its activity when the specialty hospital was operating on campus, it employed just over 900 staff.

The first step in closing down, after notifying stakeholders, will be to work with families, school districts, and area agencies to begin the student and adult transition process, campus officials said. “Students will find a new placement at a residential school. Adult residents will transition to another residence, group home, or perhaps a shared home,” they said. Crotched Mountain does not provide public medical services to the region and the closure will therefore not impact the region’s medical service capacity, officials said.

One Crotched Mountain resident died of complications from COVID-19 in March during an early outbreak at the facility. Since that initial outbreak, Crotched Mountain officials have maintained that the virus was suppressed at their facility. A Crotched Mountain employee who wished to remain anonymous told the Ledger-Transcript that the National Guard conducted COVID-19 testing at the facility last week. When asked by the Ledger-Transcript on three occasions to confirm the tests and what prompted them, officials would neither confirm nor deny that testing had taken place, saying “Crotched Mountain will do periodic testing to ensure the health and safety of our campus. Our campus is currently healthy and well. We have no other details to share at this time.”


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