Sale of OU Proctorville campus recommended

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Decision will be made by board of trustees

PROCTORVILLE — After decades of being the site of teaching students, Ohio University’s Proctorville campus may be sold.

On March 14, Carly Leatherwood, the interim chief of staff for the Office of the President at OU, was at a meeting in Proctorville to notify the center’s donors that they were going to recommend to the university’s board of trustees to consider selling the property because of declining enrollment and less revenue being generated.

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“We have had a series of meetings over the past several months to look at the viability of the property,” Leatherwood said. “This is a challenge that is facing most universities with regional or satellite campuses. Across the nation, we are seeing a declining enrollment in ancillary centers and satellites.”

Leatherwood said the discussion to possibly sell the Proctorville Center was not something they entered into lightly.

“There have been multiple discussions with the staff at the Proctorville Center, we have reviewed our faculty use over the past several years and enrollment projections,” she said. “So the discussions ultimately lead to the decision we should pursue a sale based on the data we have.”

She did add that the sale is not a foregone conclusion.

“There are several steps we have to go through. This is just a recommendation to the trustees at this point and time,” Leatherwood said.

OU Proctorville had a humble beginning in the mid-1970s with classes being held at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds and then in a building in on Route 7 in Proctorville as student enrollment increased. 

As the need for a new building grew in the 1990s, the community raised money towards building a new facility and property was donated by Marshall Smith in 2000. In 2007, the Proctorville Center was opened.

The agenda for the April 6 board of trustees meeting hasn’t been finalized yet, so it is unknown if it will be voted on then.

“The board has to vote and approve any plan. And right now, the recommendation that we will provide to the board will be that the building be sold to another educational entity,” Leatherwood said. “But beyond that, there haven’t been any discussions because the board has to allow us to pursue a sale.”

If the board of trustees vote to sell the Proctorville Center, then the State Controlling Board has to approve it.

“So, it is not a done deal until several governing bodies approve the plan,” Leatherwood said. 

She said that if the Proctorville Center is sold, the university would work with the original donors to determine the best way for their generosity and legacy to continue for the community.

“We are looking at things like potential scholarships for students in the area to attend any Ohio University college location,” Leatherwood said. “Our intention is that if we ultimately do sell the property, we intend to honor and respect the intent of the original donors in our decisions.”