Walter Cudnohufsky began the school in his Conway home and peripheral buildings—a sugar-house and a converted barn. He secured an $8,000 personal loan to pay for renovations and float the school in its first year. Construction took place over the summer of 1972, in anticipation of the first class—seven men and two women, mostly from Massachusetts.
The intention is to:
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The school’s library, located in the classroom, is a collection of over 3,000 volumes, broadly focused on land conservation, ecological restoration, landscape history, urban planning, graphic and technical skills, natural sciences, and regenerative design; in addition, the school subscribes to more than fifty professional journals.
The Conway School operates primarily out of its campus in Easthampton, MA. The school occupies a renovated mill building situated along the Manhan Rail Trail and overlooking Lower Mill Pond. A 15-minute walk connects the school with shops and restaurants in downtown Easthampton.
A large studio space in the mill building accommodates student desks, a classroom, supply/printer room, and two administrative offices. A conference room adjacent to the classroom provides additional meeting space. Faculty offices are located on the same floor, along with a full kitchen with a view of the Mt. Tom range.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges granted full accreditation effective 1989. In 1992, Walt left the school to put into practice the things that he had been teaching. He began what continues to be a thriving private practice, one that has many ecological and community building dimensions. Today he regards the Conway School as his greatest lifetime contribution, while giving credit to the people who are carrying the school forward.
Don Walker became Director in 1992, a position he held until his retirement in 2005. Don and staff oversaw the move from the school’s thirty-year home to a nearby wooded hilltop. The 34.5-acre campus is being planned as a learning laboratory for sustainable design.
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