After being delayed for a full year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vermont Adaptive’s ceremonial shovels eagerly hit the ground in May to officially launch construction on its new $2.5 million facility at Sugarbush Resort’s Mount Ellen. The three-floor, 4,000-square-foot facility is targeted for completion by the end of the year.
“I would have been building the foundation myself here today,” the organization’s executive director, Erin Fernandez, told TV news station WCAX during the May 20 groundbreaking, relieved that work was finally beginning after a difficult year of disruption. “This has been a long time trying to get this done. Here we are, we’re moving forward.”
The new facility is replacing the 400 square feet of space Vermont Adaptive has been operating out of for the past 20 years within the Mount Ellen base lodge. It will dramatically enhance the programming and experience offered to the disabled community by expanding year-round sports and recreation opportunities, retreats, veterans’ programs, workshops and wellness seminars in the Mad River region.
In addition to expanded spaces for operational services, equipment storage and accessible restrooms, the new facility will provide dedicated areas for lesson preparation, yoga classes and retreats, wellness programs and other indoor learning opportunities.
Programs based at this new facility will include cycling, sailing, paddling, rock climbing, nordic skiing, veterans’ programs, C.O.R.E. Connections, EcoAble Adventures and special events.