ST. JOHNSBURY — Efforts by Rural Edge to introduce more apartments to the area now include an attempt to acquire the Maple Center Motel property on Hastings Hill from St. Johnsbury Academy. The housing and community development organization holds an option to buy the property at 151 Hastings Hill from the independent school. The Academy was gifted the property by the late B.J. Murphy in 2008 as a space to house boarding students. Murphy, who died in 2013 at the age of 88, graduated from the Academy in 1943. Academy Headmaster Dr. Sharon Howell said the property has benefited the school with dormitory space over the years, but it’s been the hope of leadership for a while to house all boarding students on or much closer to campus. The Academy was restricted from allowing it to be used for commercial lodging. Murphy Realty, currently and at the time it gave the property to the Academy owned other commercial lodging properties. Howell said she could not comment on a potential sale as it would be premature relative to the current state of the process, but she said the Academy recognizes the value of what Rural Edge is trying to do.