BRISTOL, VA (WJHL) – After sitting vacant for more than two years, a historical Bristol college is off the market, sold for millions less than the asking price.
Thursday at an auction, a company bought Virginia Intermont College.The century-old school abruptly closed in 2014 after running out of money, and some employees still haven’t gotten their final paychecks.
We reported earlier this year V.I.’s Interim President Art Rebrovick said when the college sells they’ll get paid, but now that may not happen.
After sitting on the market for two and a half years, in November, V.I.’s main creditor, Highlands Union Bank, announced plans to start the foreclosure process on the property.
Then on Thursday the school went up for auction and sold to the highest bidder, a company called U.S. Magis international Education Inc, for $3.3 million. That company and the bank were the only two bidders at the auction.
Rebrovick told News Channel 11 that he’s disappointed, he thinks the bank moved too quickly, and now he said he doesn’t think these employees are going to get paid at all.
Rebrovick said V.I. owes $10 million to former employees and vendors. The original asking price was $15 million for the campus which would have been enough to pay back everyone. But now Rebrovick said the sale price of $3.3. million is only enough to pay the bank.
The director for Virginia’s Division of Labor and Employment Law told News Channel 11 her division is reviewing legal options to get the employees their paychecks.
At the auction, former faculty and staff gathered in the 20 degree temperatures outside the courthouse to find out the fate of their campus and for some, their paychecks.
“I’m sad about V.I. being in someone else’s hands,” Krista Turner said after the auction.
Though the school she graduated from and worked for still owes her money, she said more than anything she is sad the fate of her historic alma mater came to an auction on the courthouse steps.
Bill Best was also there, he is one of the last remaining employees at V.I., for the last two years he has kept up with the grounds.
“The interim president and the team that was left, we tried extremely hard to get it sold, to get those paid off, that’s one of Art’s biggest regrets is not being able to get that done,” Best said.
He said after the auction he’s not sure what to expect. “Excited, little concerned just you know, a lot of questions,” Best said.
One question many have is who is the buyer and what are the plans for the campus.
“The owner of the company has a college in China in addition to some other business that they have and they have run it successfully in China and that they see the needs here and they want to expand in the U.S.,” George Xu, a representative from U.S. Magis international Education Inc. said.
He said they plan to seek accreditation as a college, and offer four year degrees.
“Some of the faculty come today and the good news to them that after we get accreditation we may hire some of them back to the college,” Xu said.
He said if legally possible, they plan to call it Virginia Intermont College.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.