Ameribid hopes to announce Lon Morris College resolution next we - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Ameribid hopes to announce Lon Morris College resolution next week


Ameribid, the company hired to auction off the core of Lon Morris College's campus hopes to announce a resolution sometime next week.

The auction began on Monday, January 14. Ameribid said the properties will sell in the combination that brings the highest price. However, the auction is not traditional in the sense that there is no resemblance to a sealed bid auction. 

Lon Morris College is the state's oldest junior college, first opening its doors in 1912. The college filed for bankruptcy on July 2, 2012. The college was forced to cancel its fall classes in late August, just days before the semester was to begin.

And in November, the college announced it had hired the company Ameribid to auction off the core of the college's 112-acre campus, which includes approximately 50,000 square feet of academic space, five dormitories, and sporting fields.

"That's such a unique institution or unique kind of property that they're going to advertise as far and wide as they can to bring in people from outside the area to purchase it," said Tyler attorney Joe Thigpen in November.

Lon Morris said in an online statement in November that "We're delighted to have the auction plans finalized. Ameribid will be providing prospective bidders with detailed information about the school and its extensive campus."

The college was offered in multiple parcels and as an entirety - in combinations that bring the highest total price to the school so that as many people as possible can be paid back.

"It's possible that you could see several owners. It's possible that they could divide it up," Thigpen said. "But it'd be kind of hard to see how a dormitory's going to be separate than something else. Probably the best and highest use of the property would be for a unified kind of use, like a retirement village or maybe even a probation center."

The auction was originally scheduled for December 13, 2012, but in early December a bankruptcy judge approved a $150,000 loan to pay staff and keep the college operating through the sale and auction, which was moved to start Monday, January 14.

The sale hearing along with the confirmation hearing is scheduled for February 4. At that time, Lon Morris will ask the court to approve and authorize the sale to the winning bidders under a plan of liquidation.  

Ameribid has not confirmed who the qualified bidders are, but tells us there is potential for the property to be used as a conference center, corporate retreat or even a residential treatment center.

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