MCU campus closer to becoming tech park, new college accepting students

A closed university in the Local 6 area is closer to becoming a tech park. In the meantime, another university wants to replace it.

Court documents show a judge signed off on selling Mid-Continent University’s campus. The potential buyers say they’re excited to turn the campus into a technology park, but can’t release details. West Kentucky and Tennessee Telecommunications sent us this statement:

Over the last several months, WK&T’s board of trustees and the management team have been working with Mid-Continent’s board of directors on the purchase of the MCU property. It has been an intricate process but it has moved along steadily due to both sides’ desire for the best possible outcome for our community.

The judge also approved dismissing the liens, or debts, on the property. One of those debts was to a group of former Mid-Continent University faculty and staff. The group filed a lawsuit against the school for lost wages and compensation when the school closed in 2014.

It’s unclear if the group will receive the money for those lost wages right now. The group’s attorney says the group just doesn’t have the highest priority to get paid once the property is sold. One former faculty member says, with Mid-Continent closed and the campus changing hands, he hopes to get former faculty and students back in the classroom.

While the campus still sits empty, down the road at Community Fellowship Baptist Church, Keith Roach says he hopes students fill their empty classroom. “We’re looking to not only fill that educational void, but also continue the mission," Roach says. 

Roach says it’s been challenging as the provost to start Summit Christian University. He says what keeps him going are the stories he hears from those who want to finish their degrees. “I know your pain, I know your frustration, I know your challenges," he says.

He says the classes taught there would provide a place for the students who still want to study and to earn degrees. "The model works," Roach says. "And Mid-Continent wasn’t the only college doing this type of model.”

But he says all he needs are students.

Summit University is a licensed nonprofit university, but Roach told me he’s working on receiving accreditation. However, part of that accreditation process involves proving attendance and an interested student body.

Roach told me he hopes to offer classes by the end of January. There will be preview days next week for anyone interested in the school. They will be Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 9 and 10, at Community Fellowship Baptist Church.

So, what does selling the campus mean for Mid-Continent? We reached out to CFO Tim Walker. He told us students can still request transcripts, because Mid-Continent will maintain a small office on the campus at least until December 2017. Walker said there is no closing date set on selling the campus. He said, contractually, the school will close before the end of January.