State’s Oldest Junior College Goes On The Auction Block

JACKSONVILLE (January 14, 2013)--The campus of Lon Morris College, including most of its buildings, was set to be auctioned off Monday after efforts to boost enrollment and revenues at the state's oldest junior college failed and the school filed for bankruptcy last year.

The auction is set for Monday at a Dallas law firm for the two-year United Methodist school in the small East Texas town of Jacksonville, about 125 miles southeast of Dallas.

Auction firm AmeriBid says the auction of the 112-acre campus will include most of the school's facilities, including the library, chapel, administration building, classroom facilities and athletic fields.

Lon Morris filed for bankruptcy in July.

The college then suspended classes in August after the U.S. Department of Education decided not to allow students to use federal aid there because federal statutes disqualify schools that file for bankruptcy.

School officials had tried unsuccessfully to reverse the college’s declining fortunes by resurrecting its football program in 2009 after nearly 70 years.

The move more than tripled enrollment to about 1,000 by 2010, but the college found itself burdened not only with the expense of the football program, but also of waves of students who couldn’t pay the bills.

The 158-year-old private two-year college filed for bankruptcy, dropped all of its sports programs and furloughed all but about a half dozen faculty members.