ATLANTA -- Morris Brown College is facing foreclosure of its property on Sept. 4, the African Methodist Episcopal Church said Tuesday.
According to a news release, a creditor of the historically black college, a corporation which holds $13.1 million in college bonds secured by its downtown Atlanta property, has called the loans and the college is unable to pay.
In a statement, Preston W. Williams II, chairman of the board of trustees of Morris Brown, said he will announce the school's formal response on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 1 p.m. at an event on the school's campus. Leaders are calling for people to gather at the school's gymnasium to hear the plan and pray for the school's survival.
Morris Brown College once joined Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University among highly acclaimed historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). But in 2002, Morris Brown lost accreditation and federal funding following mismanagement of the school's finances.
Enrollment numbers, once topping 2,500, have now dropped to around 50 students. Some of the campus buildings are boarded up and abandoned.
Still, Morris Brown continues to function; Wednesday was the first day of classes and the school website posts a full calendar for the year.
According to trustee board spokesman Benjamin Harrison, the school has two weeks until a "significant portion" of its campus is foreclosed upon. Harrison said the board has a plan to keep the property, but foreclosure could spell disaster for the school.
"It would almost be a nail in the coffin, if you will, to the viability of the school going forward," he said.
Earlier this year, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that plans to develop a Truett Cathy Legacy Project on the campus of Morris Brown had fallen through. The project would have utilized portions of the college's campus.
(Atlanta Business Chronicle)