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The Voice of the Black Community

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Concord dooms BSC dorms to demolition
City to tearn down buildings in November
 
Published Sunday, July 21, 2013 6:17 pm
by Herbert L. White

Beleagured Barber-Scotia College may be getting smaller.


Concord City Council last week voted 7-0 to demolish a couple of dormitories at the historically black campus. The buildings, which were built in the 1960s, are located at 180 and 188 Corban Avenue. The demolition will take place in November, giving Green Power Services Inc., a potential investor in BSC, an opportunity to settle liens against the building worth more than $7 million total.


The demolition order is the latest in a series of setbacks for Barber-Scotia, which has been beset by financial difficulties for years. The college, which counts educator and Franklin Roosevelt advisor Mary McLeod Bethune among its graduates, lost its accreditation in 2004 and with it access to federal student loans and grants. Enrollment has plummeted, with three students attending summer school and 50 during the academic year.


“I really don’t see how if they bite the dust how that’s really going to negatively affect the college,” council member Alfred Brown Jr. told the Independent-Tribune newspaper of Kannapolis. “These two buildings are the least historic buildings on the campus. They were built in the 1960s. I was in high school. For these buildings to be demolished, I don’t see that as a doomsday sentence for the college. The rest of the college is the historical part and they’re in the best shape, ironically.”


Barber-Scotia President David Olah told City Council  the college won’t be able to reimburse the city for the cost of demolishing the four-story buildings. They were last occupied in the late 1990s when financial troubles took a toll on campus upkeep.


“I’m concerned if you tear it down, you will put pressure on us to pay very soon,” according to The Independent-Tribune. “And if we can’t pay, you will foreclose on our property. I know the buildings are not to the standard that the city would like. They are not to the standard that we would like.”


Neighbors have complained over the years that the dilapidated buildings are a magnet for crime and drive down property values.


Barber-Scotia was founded in 1867 as Scotia Seminary, a college for black women and companion campus to all-male Biddle Institute, now Johnson C. Smith University. It merged with another women’s school, Barber Memorial College of Anniston, Ala., in 1930 to create Barber-Scotia.

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