What Happens To Closing College Campus In Upstate New York?
When a college shutters its doors, the impact is felt well beyond the students, faculty, staff and alumni. Small surrounding towns and villages are often devastated, as the life blood of their local economy slips away. Throughout the United States small liberal arts colleges are struggling to stay alive. One upstate New York village is trying to get ahead of a potential problem from their college closing.
As reported on 104theteam.com back in October, Cazenovia College, the small, liberal arts school outside of Syracuse announced it will shut its doors after the spring 2023 semester ends. Enrollment decline, along with a $25 million bond payment put the institution in tremendous debt. The college defaulted on the bond last fall. Now the village of Cazenovia is trying to take steps to protect their future.
In an article by Rick Moriarty on syracuse.com, the mayor of the village, Kurt Wheeler, organized a task force, involving college officials, to explore the future of the 199 year-old campus. “Our goal is to be positive and proactive, not just wait for something to happen,” Wheeler told syracuse.com. “We’re hoping to avoid a piecemeal sale. We don’t think that type of approach will recreate the economic and cultural impact the college has had.”
The task force and other village officials would like to see another institution of higher education take over the property. “It could be a technical school or medical training, maybe with an assisted living component,” the mayor said. Wheeler added, “The bondholders are very aware of our efforts. They have a fiduciary responsibility to their investors, and we understand that. But they need to understand the process will work out better for them if they work with us.” There may be an unexpected local interest in the property.
In an interesting twist, a small group of anonymous wealthy Cazenovia-area residents expressed interest in raising money to buy the college’s bonds. If that purchase were to come to fruition, Wheeler said the group would work with the village to come up with a redevelopment plan for the campus.