The 168-year-old junior college in Jacksonville, which filed bankruptcy in July, is planning an auction at 11 a.m. on Dec. 13 in Dallas, according to a news release sent Tuesday.
The auction will be conducted using two categories — one for core assets such as dorms, classroom facilities, fields, a chapel, the administration building and a library, and another for noncore assets, primarily single-family residential properties around the college.
As far as the rodeo arena, which the City of Jacksonville deeded to Lon Morris in 2009, the school has agreed it will not sell the property without the city's consent.
“We're delighted to have the auction plans finalized. (The auctioneer) AmeriBid will be providing prospective bidders with detailed information about the school and its extensive campus,” Lon Morris Chief Restructuring Officer Dawn Ragan said in a prepared statement.
AmeriBid spokesman Carl Carter said the campus would be attractive to various entities and “anybody with a need for a campus or those specific kinds of facilities.”
Stephen Karbelk, co-chairman and founder of AmeriBid, said in a news release that he anticipates prospective bidders to include colleges, churches, denominations, school systems and “other groups that might wish to use the property as a conference center, corporate retreat or even residential treatment center.”
“It will sell in the combination of parcels that brings the highest total price for the school,” Karbelk said in a statement.
“It would make an excellent home for seniors, substance rehabilitation center, juvenile detention facility or any of a number of other uses,” Karbelk said in the release. “We're providing very detailed information on the various facilities to make it easier for interested individuals.”
Carter said that's being done through marketing materials, which are going out to potential buyers.
“Now it's a matter of accurately explaining the property and showing it and giving prospective buyers every chance they can to see what the different facilities have to offer them and how they fit into the needs they may have…,” he said. “One thing that's going to be interesting is what it will mean for the future of the community as far as an economic asset.”
The auction is among the latest issues for Lon Morris.
The financially-strapped institution filed a voluntary chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in July after bleeding millions of dollars since at least the 2007-08 school year, when college representatives say the school embarked on a costly plan to grow enrollment.
In August, the college learned it would lose federal student aid and subsequently decided to suspend the fall semester. Lon Morris Attorney Hugh Ray III has said that changed the nature of the case, which went from selling an operating facility to instead auctioning its assets as real estate.
About 100 students were expected to attend Lon Morris this fall, and now other East Texas community colleges have stepped in to help accommodate them.
Individuals seeking additional information about the auction may visit www.AmeriBid.com or call 877-895-7077.