Story by Alex Wiederspiel, WKMZ
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — An Elkins-based construction firm is now expected to close in fewer than 30 days on the purchase of the former Alderson Broaddus University and its campus in Philippi following a hearing Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
CGP Construction, owned by Craig G. Phillips, entered an upset bid Friday ahead of close of business for $5 million dollars. It is not yet clear what CGP Construction plans for the campus.
DACK Investments, a Buckhannon-based real estate firm, put forward a $4.9 million dollar opening or “stalking horse” bid shortly after Christmas.
Attorneys for DACK announced in court Wednesday morning their clients would not respond to the upset bid, ultimately leading to a judge awarding the campus, buildings, and personal property to CGP.
Alderson Broaddus University formed in 1932 as a result of merging Baptist institutions. The Battlers graduated their final class last month.
Part of the proceedings Wednesday were focused on two compromises to allow the sale to proceed.
– The USDA, who issued a refinancing loan to Alderson Broaddus in December 2018, agreed to a 50-50 split on the value of personal property at Alderson Broaddus as part of the sale. The personal property was originally valued at $900,000 in the bid by DACK.
– The artificial turf field where Alderson Broaddus resumed varsity football in 2013 is part of the sale, but around $400,000 was still owed to PNC. PNC agreed to release the artificial turf field for $40,000.
Two longstanding members of the Alderson Broaddus community were granted an opportunity to speak during the hearing.
Dr. Karen Larry, a former member of the Alderson Broaddus Board of Trustees, was the only Philippi-native on the board.
“We knew the campus had to be sold,” she told MetroNews affiliate WKMZ following the hearing. “We’re sick over that, but that’s the way it is.”
She said the campus is integral to Philippi.
“We hope Mr. Phillips will present a business plan that will take Philippi into strong consideration,” Larry said.
Tim Morris, another former AB board member, spoke during the hearing Wednesday, implored that new owners preserve the legacy of Alderson Broaddus as best they can in the future.
“This is the best case scenario, but it’s disappointing that we could not save it,” Morris said.
At least four other bidders had expressed interest during the bankruptcy process. Morris, however, said that any effort to save the college simply ran out of time.
Larry told the court that there were empty homes with for-sale signs that had been there for months.
“It’s a constant reminder of the losses for Barbour County,” she said.
She added: “We will not be able to restore what we’ve lost.”