A dozen bidders now potentially own portions of the MacMurray College property. The auction began at 10AM inside the Gamble Campus Center and concluded approximately 1 hour later with less than 50 people in attendance. Some were well-wishers and interested parties seeing how much the college would sell for, with approximately two dozen bidders in the audience.
The most expensive tracts of land had high bids from local real estate owner Mike Hayes, whose tracts covered most of the heart of the campus having high bids totaling over $600,000. His tracts include Annie Merner Chapel, the Putnam-Springer buildings, McClelland Dining Hall, Rutledge Hall, Katherine Hall, the MacMurray tennis court and adjacent parking lot on Lurton Avenue.
In total, the campus brought around $1.35 million. President of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation Kristin Jamison says it’s a new chapter for the properties with the potential new ownership: “[It is] absolutely hard for the MacMurray family and community to see something move into the next phase, but as the Jacksonville community watches what happened here this morning, I think they will be happy. There were a number of Jacksonville community members who stepped up and purchased property. I have great confidence in many of the folks that I recognize this morning that they will do wonderful things with the property.”
Chairman of the Board of Trustees John Nicolay says overall he was glad to see that each tract of real estate receive a bid: “You know overall it’s a sad day, obviously for alumni and faculty and everybody else involved. Having said that, we’re very gratified to each of the parcels that were up for auction received a bid. That’s a good thing for the college and for the community. One of the priorities for the board during this time has been that we do as much as possible to maintain these beautiful buildings for the Jacksonville community.”
Nicolay says now that the auction is over, the board will have the final decision on whether or not to accept the bids or continue to try to sell them for a better price: “Generally, those properties if the board determines that the price is not high enough, then we would market those again and go back to other interested parties and see if, you know, if we can get the best deal that we can for the institution.”
Nicolay says that the board will also take into account any final debts the school owes before making a decision on the bids acquired today. Nicolay says that he does not know what the bidders are going to do with properties but he is glad things are staying local: “We wanted this piece of the Jacksonville community to not sit idle and become a liability for the community. We are very happy that a lot of local investors stepped up and are looking at the properties and bid on the properties. Hopefully, that means that you know this part of Jacksonville’s history will be maintained.”
According to a statement from the Board through their PR Manager James Prescott, the board is set to meet within the next week and assess the bids on key campus tracts under reserve bids and then proceed forward on accepting or rejecting those bids by November 24th.