URI closes W. Alton Jones campus programs

The two main buildings that are part of the University of Rhode Island’s W. Alton Jones campus will close for good early next month.

URI will shutter the Whispering Pines Conference Center and the Environmental Education Center located on the 2,300-acre campus.

Camp staff had recently said that they were ready to open and understood the new guidelines in the coronavirus time, but URI made the decision to not operate day or overnight camps.

The campus will permanently close as part of “university-wide financial concerns” due to the coronavirus pandemic. Built 55 years ago, the woodsy campus is the site of overnight and day campus, group retreats, weddings and more.

The campus functions as a business, the statement said, which like many others will end the year with a deficit because of the pandemic.

In a statement, university officials said that it would be cost prohibitive to try to maintain [summer camps and events] in the current financial climate.”

“We know that Whispering Pines and the EEC have been enjoyed and supported by thousands of adults and youngsters,” the statement said. “The university will be examining the use of this 2300-acre preserve of forests, lakes, and farmland in West Greenwich going forward. “

The 17 employees at the campus will be relocated to other positions within the school as possible, and several maintenance workers will remain on-site for upkeep.

A petition has begun on – you can review/sign it here. As of this early publication over 1,700 people have signed:

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