COLLINS PERLEY HISTORY
Over 100 years ago St. Albans was given Bellows Free Academy by Hiram Bellows.
Coote Field was the original home to BFA sports and the St. Albans Giants semi-pro baseball team. It was a gift from Alfred Coote.
Over 25 years ago Steve Collins and Bessie Perley gave us the Collins Perley Sports and Fitness Center.
The Collins Perley Sports & Fitness Center, is truly one of the State of Vermont’s gems. With over 600,000 user visits a year, it is a testament to the region’s commitment to recreation and to community. More than a sports center, The Collins Perley Campus of Bellows Free Academy is a Community Center.
Collins Perley opened in 1985. Prior to their deaths, Bessie Perley and Steve Collins reached independent decisions to bequeath significant amounts of money for the purpose of building and maintaining athletic facilities for St. Albans area residents in general and for Bellows Free Academy students in particular. Neither was aware of the others plans. Both used the same attorney – John Kissane. Attorney Kissane is often referred to as the principle architect of Collins Perley.
Operating a facility whose use was 85% public and 15% school was a challenge for the school. In 1995, BFA turned the operation of Collins Perley over to an independent non-profit corporation that was established for that purpose. Almost immediately, community use increased, deferred maintenance was performed, and facilities were improved. That Board is comprised of representatives, one each, from: St. Albans City; St. Albans Town, St. Albans Recreation; The Collins Trust and the Perley Trust; BFA Board of Directors; BFA Administration; Member at Large.
A visitor may come to Collins Perley to watch their five year old grandchild play soccer on one of our six soccer fields Perhaps they’ll join the many who enjoy the Rotary Health Path – a six foot wide and one and a half mile long strip that surrounds the grounds,. If you live in Franklin County, chance are you’ve already been to the outside of the Center. Our outside venues host recreation programs for all ages. We have facilities for baseball, softball, soccer, football, lacrosse and all the track and field events. Inside are four tennis courts, a complete fitness center, two racquetball courts, an aerobics and gymnastics room and an ice skating rink.
Collins Perley serves as a Community Center. Art Shows, Conventions, Business Meetings, Job Fairs, Expositions, Concerts, even Funerals all find their way here. We host Vermont’s Semi-pro Soccer team; The Vermont Voltage.