Golf News for Tuesday, October 25, 2005 | Courses

Expansion of school won't negatively affect Wren Dale (Pa.) course

HERSHEY, Penn. -- Hershey Trust Company and the owners of Wren Dale Golf Course announced an arrangement that ensures the long- term future of the championship-caliber course and provides an open buffer of green space for the planned expansion of the Milton Hershey School campus.

Wren Dale is located in South Hanover Township. The 180-acre property is adjacent to the site of a proposed expansion of the Milton Hershey School.

The Trust and the owners of Wren Dale have signed a lease agreement. In a separate agreement, the Trust has signed an option to buy Wren Dale. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"This opportunity was simply too good to pass up. As the School continues to expand and enroll more students, our top priority is to ensure that our students have the proper environment," said Robert Vowler, President of Hershey Trust Company. "That is at the heart of the Deed of Trust, and we believe that preserving this open space is critically important as the School continues to grow."

Vowler added, "Wren Dale is right next to where Milton Hershey School will be housing many Middle Division kids and, obviously, open space like this will provide an appropriate buffer for our students."

The School's Centennial Strategic Plan calls for enrollment to increase to 2,000 by no later than 2013. The School now serves approximately 1,300 students. The agreement, coupled with recently approved zoning changes on land Hershey Trust owns in South Hanover Township, will ensure more open space and more green space in the community.

"This relationship makes sense for the School and the Trust, and the community can rest assured that this property will remain open space. This will not become another housing development. We think everybody wins," Vowler added.

Wren Dale, which opened in 2000, has earned a tremendous reputation among golfers from all parts of the country as one of the most challenging and beautiful layouts in the central Pennsylvania region.

The course was designed by the award-winning architectural firm of Hurdzen/Fry of Columbus, Ohio. The agreements allow the current day-to-day operations to continue under John Caporaletti's management firm Caporaletti Golf Management under a long-term contract.

Wren Dale Golf Club will continue to be managed as a premier, semi- private, golf only facility, with a membership program distinct and separate from the other area clubs.

"Our top priority was to make sure that this course would remain open and not be bulldozed to make way for yet another housing development," said Barry Fell, President of Wren Dale.

"We poured our hearts into building this course and we're thrilled that Hershey Trust Company recognizes the value in this course and has entered into this relationship with us. We're confident that the Trust and Caporaletti's management firm will operate a world-class facility," Fell added.