Five years after opening its doors for the inaugural freshman class, Southern Catholic College is putting its campus up for sale.
According to an official with the college, the board of trustees met with a realtor Dec. 6 to “formally put the property on the market.”
Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Nick Bain said it’s a decision that came on the heels of major budget troubles, which closed the campus April 15 — weeks shy of spring semester’s end.
Bain said officials had planned to bring another Catholic college to lease the campus in its place, but it didn’t work out.
“We just don’t have any other options, so we’re going to be selling the campus and ending this chapter in our lives,” Bain said.
The campus sits on 100 acres about five miles north of Dawsonville on property adjacent to the defunct Gold Creek Golf Club.
Southern Catholic had been leasing its campus to North Georgia College Prep Academy on an interim basis.
The prep academy’s coach was given a 20-year sentence last week by a Superior Court judge for felony theft by deception.
Bain said financial troubles related to the prep academy complicated the matter, but had no bearing on the final decision.
Previously owned by Gold Creek Golf Club, the property features dormitories, classrooms, a library, administrative offices and student center.
In its time in Dawson County, the Catholic college had two graduating classes.
Bain reflected that in the end, “it came down to a lack of money.
“There was still too much reliance on fundraising, and it started with the recession in the fall of 08,” Bain said.
He said the college’s alliance with the Legion of Christ was unable to save the institution from financial peril.
“They couldn’t help sufficiently with fundraising, so that didn’t work,” Bain said.
He explained that because the college was unable to get full Southern Association of Colleges and Schools [SACS] accreditation, “we couldn’t establish long-term financial viability ... which is paramount in the education world.”
Prior to closing its campus in April, there were about 240 students enrolled at the college, which employed about 24 full- and part-time faculty members and had about 25 support staff members.