Dec. 10, 2012
STEPHENS COLLEGE AGREES TO SELL PROPERTY TO
THE HAGAN SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION
Columbia, Mo– Stephens College has agreed to sell two properties on the eastern edge of the campus to the Hagan Scholarship Foundation for use as the new site of the Hagan Scholarship Academy, according to Stephens College President Dr. Dianne Lynch.
The two properties involved in the sale currently include Hillcrest Hall and the old Stephens College Auditorium/Natatorium complex. The Hillcrest Hall property is bounded by Broadway, Ripley, East Walnut, and North William streets. The Auditorium/Natatorium property is located on Broadway and Dorsey Streets and is bordered by other Stephens College property.
The sale is contingent upon rezoning of both sites in order to restrict their use to the activities of the scholarship foundation and academy or to the construction of professional office buildings. Multi-family or student housing unrelated to the new academy would not be allowed under the terms of the sale. The Hillcrest Hall property is currently owned by the Stephens College Endowment Foundation; the auditorium property is owned by the College.
The College’s strategic plan, approved in 2010, made it evident that its future space needs do not include the two properties, Lynch said.
"This is a strategic decision to right-size the campus,” Lynch said. “We are divesting the institution of properties it no longer needs in order to invest strategically in those facilities and programs important to our future.” Trustees began discussing possible sale of these properties about a year ago, Lynch said.
Several local and national developers have previously expressed interest in the properties as the site of high-rise student housing. The trustees of Stephens College and of the Stephens College Endowment Foundation agreed that the college would prefer to seek a neighbor that could make a different kind of contribution to its community.
"We were not in any kind of hurry to do this,” Lynch said. “We just knew that it didn’t make sense to invest significant resources in properties we truly don’t need. Collectively, we made the decision to be patient and look for an organization or a developer who had a different vision of what those properties might become.
"We wanted to do what is right for our campus, but we also were determined to preserve the quality and character of our neighborhood," Lynch said. “The Hagan Scholarship Foundation, which is dedicated to helping high-achieving students from rural counties, shares the College’s educational mission and values.”
The Hagan Scholarship Foundation plans to raze the buildings on both properties in 2013, and to begin construction of a new Academy and Foundation offices on the Hillcrest site within the next year. The proposed Academy will serve high-achieving junior- and senior-level high school students in a residential setting. The new Academy will include dormitories, classrooms, and related school administration facilities.
Initial construction of the Academy will be focused on the current Hillcrest Hall property. The Auditorium/Natatorium site will remain as green space until the Foundation determines the future needs of its programs. At that point, the Auditorium site would be developed for Academy and Foundation purposes, or as the site of professional office buildings.
In order to impose that restriction, however, the properties will need to be rezoned from R-3 to 0-1. “The College is requesting the rezoning because it cares deeply about our neighborhood,” Lynch said. “Stephens plans to be here for at least another 180 years, and the long-term interests of our community matter to us.”
The Hagan Scholarship Foundation and the College plan to meet with city representatives, City Council representatives, neighborhood associations and community members to share its plans and to encourage an open and inclusive discussion during the next few weeks.
Teresa Maledy, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Stephens College, said the agreement is the kind of positive outcome the Board had hoped for.
"This is a win-win situation for everybody,” Maledy said. “The Hagan Scholarship Foundation and Academy provide such positive support for our region's young people, and the community can rest assured that it will continue to have a high-quality educational institution or professional offices as its neighbors.”
"And as for Stephens, we are so excited at the possibility of having the Hagan Scholarship Foundation and Academy right next door," Maledy said. "We hope to find ways we can partner around our shared interest in educating our region’s best and brightest students.”
Additional information about the Hagan Scholarship Foundation and its mission can be found at www.hsfmo.org www.hsfmo.org.
Stephens College, established in 1833, is historically committed to meeting the changing needs of women. Stephens prepares students to become leaders and innovators in a rapidly changing world, and engages lifelong learners in an educational experience characterized by intellectual rigor, creative expression and professional practice.
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