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Reeds Landing (RG 139)

This is a photograph that shows Reeds Landing, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) built on land originally belonging to Springfield College’s East Campus. It shows the four-story main building at Reeds Landing with a large portico attached to the main entrance.

Reeds Landing

Reeds Landing, or Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing, is continuing care retirement community (CCRC) built on land originally belonging to Springfield College’s East Campus. Originally, Bay State Health Systems had the lease for the 23.6 acres of East Campus needed for its construction, but the community is now owned and operated by Loomis Communities. The original lease was approved in January, 1990, by the Board of Trustees as a 75 year lease of the property. According to President Falcone, the lease would provide “income in support of the Springfield College mission.” The Reeds Landing Retirement Community consists of 120 independent living apartments, 56 assisted living apartments and a 42 bed skilled nursing center. Its construction and eventual opening in 1991 was fraught with controversy on the Springfield College campus.

The story of Reeds Landing actually begins in 1980. The City of Springfield was searching for a site for a new high school and the Mayor thought East Campus to be the ideal location. Although the College was opposed to the plan and the Board of Trustees overwhelmingly voted the “land is not for sale,” city officials pushed strongly to take the land. At the time, East Campus was selected as one of 12 sites in New England as an Experimental Geological Reserve by the National Science Foundation. This along with strong Community and College uproar, eventually led the new high school to be shifted to another location (becoming Central High School on land originally part of Blunt Park), and East Campus and its 80+ acres remained untouched.

Less than a decade later, though, the property was again under intense attack. This time the attack came from within the Springfield College Community itself. With the college’s new president, Dr. Falcone, at the helm and a proposal was put forth to the college and its board of trustees. This new proposal involved 23.1 acres of East Campus - somewhat removed from the area directly used for camping activities, recreational education and environmental studies. The proposition, developed by BayState Diversified Health Systems, Inc., put before the Board requested the leasing of this land acres for a period of 75 years. The property would carefully be developed into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) with minimal (according to the proposal) impact on the East Campus.

The proposal eventually agreed upon limited building of a multi-level health care retirement community to 10 acres of the 23 acre leased property, with a commitment to maintain the wooded character of the remaining property. The community itself would consist of 100 plus independent living apartments located in a 4-story building which would also contain dining facilities, meeting rooms and other amenities. There would be a lesser number of assisted living apartments within the same building. A 40-bed skilled nursing facility would be constructed within the 10 acres. Also available would be a number of detached cottages as well as parking and landscaped grounds.

Opposition to this proposal was overwhelming. Neighbors of the site were opposed, college faculty and staff, students and most emphatically alumni. The negotiations continued. Concessions were made. The original building plans were downsized and a great deal of effort was put into public relations aimed at the impacted groups. Despite the strong opposition, an agreement was reached providing the college with a significant up-front payment of $1 million and further financial guarantees. On January 13, 1990 the Board of Trustees voted 23-9 with 6 abstentions to lease 25% or 23.1 acres of East Campus to BayState Diversified Health Systems, Inc.

On November 1,1993 the College received the upfront payment of $1,000,000. Construction equipment arrived that same day and Reed’s Landing had come into existence. The Board did vote a moratorium on any further encroachment on the property known as East Campus.

In 2009, the lease on the property changed hands, and the CCRC once known as Reed’s Landing is now known as Loomis Lakeside at Reed’s Landing. Regardless of the turmoil, many Springfield College alumni and retired faculty reside in Reed’s Landing, and ties between the college is strong and includes many joint activities and teaching and learning experiences for both the students and the residents.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection mainly centers on the controversy about the establishment of Reeds Landing. Within the collection are materials that outline the development plans for the creation of Reeds Landing, a collection of materials in a “briefing” book that outlines the history of East Campus and the steps it took to reach the conclusion to build Reeds Landing, a collection of newspaper clippings both from the Student and outside media, and correspondence, documents, meeting minutes and news releases that speak to the struggle to stop the building of Reeds Landing. In addition there are some marketing materials used to promote Reeds Landing created by Springfield College’s Marketing Department and the Alumni Relations Office. There is also a coffee mug that is thought to have been created during the protest of Reeds Landing’s construction. The mug changes with the addition of heat from trees to buildings. There are, at present, no photographs of Reeds Landing, but there is one large, framed sketch/painting of Reeds Landing that was created in 1993. Finally, there is a VHS tape of a Channel 22 news program on Reeds Landing, with interviews of residents. Exact date is not known, but it appears to have been done in 2013.