“It’s a Painful Process” MacMurray Prepares for Campus Auction

By Jeremy Coumbes on November 7, 2020 at 6:10pm

MacMurray College continues preparing for the campus auction this week.

The campus and buildings will be offered for auction this Thursday November 12th. The auction begins the final chapters of the college following the March decision by the board of trustees to close MacMurray after the spring semester.

Jim Prescott, media contact for the MacMurray Board of Trustees says although the weather did not always cooperate for the two public inspections offered for prospective bidders to view the school first hand, there was a very good turn out during the open house type events.

He says that all indications are that there is a high interest in the property.

Based on what we have heard from Williams and Williams which is the firm that is handling the auction,the interest online and the inquiries online and the hits to the site online have been really really good. There’s been high interest in it but, the proof is in the pudding and it will depend on the bids that get submitted in the live auction. So the interest is there, but interest quite frankly doesn’t cost anything. So we are hopeful that interest translates into legitimate offers that will help with MacMurray’s financial situation.”

Prescott says the process of preparing the college to close and be auctioned off was more than a little difficult.

It’s a painful process, not only for alumni and for the community, but it’s also painful obviously for staff and faculty. And it’s an enormous undertaking there are so many details. Especially since it’s an institution like MacMurray that has been around for 174 years.

The to do list was just never ending and they are still working through it. Here we are in November, we announced the closure in March and we have, you know, at least several more months to tie everything off and to shut everything down once the auction is complete.”

Prescott says many alumni of the college volunteered their time to come back to the school to assist with preparing for the multiple auctions needed to totally close down and liquidate the physical assets of the school.

He says the board had spent the previous year exploring financial scenarios and potential new sources for capital before its March vote, but it ultimately determined MacMurray had no viable financial path forward in the wake of declining enrollments, rising competitive costs, and an insufficient endowment.

He says once the decision was made, the main order of business above all else was to handle the closure in the best way possible.

Given the position that MacMurray had in the Jacksonville community for so long, this involves much more than the auction itself. It’s a painful process for all and it’s a difficult situation for sure.

But closing the college was the correct decision and once that decision was made the priority was to handle the closure as responsibly as possible, and do so in a way that not only took some of the sting out of the financial condition that MacMurray faced, but also is in a way that preserves the legacy of MacMurray and does so with some dignity and respect.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic disruption it caused were contributing factors that complicated MacMurray’s financial condition, but they were not the principal reasons for the Board’s decision to close.

To resolve its debts during the closure process, MacMurray is offering 18 tracts on the 60-acre campus for auction. Williams & Williams Real Estate Auctioneers is managing the auction for MacMurray. Details are at: https://www.WilliamsAuction.com/MacMurray.

The outdoor auction will begin at 10 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 12 at the tennis courts behind Rutledge Hall and Kathryn Hall so as to comply with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recent order restricting indoor gatherings to 25 people or fewer.

Terms of the auction require a 10 percent deposit and 30-day close. Bidders may participate on site or online simultaneously throughout the live auction, but bidders wishing to bid online must register to bid at www.auctionnetwork.com for the auction. There is no deposit required to register to bid. Pre-auction offers on any of the tracts are welcome.

Bidders are encouraged to participate online at AuctionNetwork.com during the live auction. Call 800-801-8003 for more information or go online to AuctionNetwork.com to create a free account. The anticipated bidding audience is expected to include a diverse group of investors, end users, non-profits and educational entities.

MacMurray is one of more than 60 small colleges nationwide that have closed their doors since 2016.