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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

For sale? College considers selling land

“This half a million dollars has a real immediate impact,” said Vice President for Administration Jonathan Varnell. “It will buy more time and helps us from making cuts in this next budget year.”

Guilford College has received an offer of $500,000 for two acres of land in the meadows on the roadside of New Garden Road. The proposed deal is for a medical services provider to buy the land and put up a clinic.

“The medical provider is very well known,” said Varnell. “They own nine or ten other practices around Greensboro.”

At a Feb. 15 forum about the offer, many questions were asked, but some people still left with more questions on their minds.

“I was not given enough information,” said Janet Wright, faculty secretary/ombudsperson and former member of the Greensboro zoning commission. “There are still a couple of things that I want to know and that I am unsure of.”

To start the forum, Varnell said, “I don’t like selling land, but in the current financial situation that we are in, we either cut it out of the budget or we use this half  million.”

The college has a deficit of about $2 million over the next two budget years. With this in mind, the college is mindful of ways to increase revenue.

“This selling of land will give us time,” said Vice President for Finance Greg Bursavich. “It will help us on our way to solving the debt crisis that we are in.”

“From an investment standpoint, it appears to be the best time looking backward and forward and as far ahead as we can see,” said Bursavich. “We are using it to increase the actual resources on this campus.”

The property is currently zoned as “Public Institution.” PI zoning means the zone can have multiple uses. A college campus is usually designated PI so that it can have office buildings, dorm buildings and classrooms all in the same zoning area. With the selling of this land, the property will have to be rezoned.

“ One of my concerns is that it does not have to be a medical facility unless it is specified in the zoning conditions that that is what it is going to be,” said Wright. “Lawyers don’t like to get that specific. They usually want to leave it open. Unless it says it will be a medical facility for this specific use in the conditions, it could be anything.”

Another concern was if selling the land would have any effect on the master plan. The master plan has this land being used for new athletic fields if needed.

“Turf has totally changed the game,” said Varnell. “The turf has changed the demand for any new athletic fields. We are meeting demand, so we don’t need any fields and this won’t affect that.”

The last concern brought up was, as Wright and Associate Professor of Sports Studies Lavon Williams put it, the “pinching off of land.”

“Is this going to be a reoccurring thing?” said Wright. “This could be a domino effect. I don’t want to see us slowly taking offers and saying we need the money and selling off parts of our land.”

“The Board of Trustees said the opposite,” said Varnell. “They were afraid that this sale would landlock us for feature development. They see this land as far from the core of our campus and therefore not mission-critical land.”

People see both flaws and opportunities in this plan, both of which came to light at the forum. The Board of Trustees will discuss this proposal at the end of this month, with Varnell reporting the concerns that were brought up during the forum to help the trustees’ decision.

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    David GrayFeb 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    In 10 yrs the land will be valued at 500,000 per acre. IF you sell now you will never have this land for future use. You can get the money from the bank and build the clinic bldg yourself and rent it to the Drs. You will have the land and building for the next 100 years. Do no be so short sighted, If you sell for 500,000 for two arces, the money will be gone in 6 months and the land will be gone forever. You have gain nothing but taken from the future of the College. If 500,000 is so important, you can get this from locale corporation. They will help, if you just ask !!!!