Barber-Scotia College is expected to announce a new partnership with a niche startup university dedicated to college athletics, and will lease most of its academic and athletic facilities for usage by the new school.
The Independent Tribune broke the news on the five-year agreement, which will give Forest Trail Sports University exclusive usage of BSC’s classrooms, dormitories, gymnasium and service buildings, while reserving the primary campus administration building for Barber-Scotia’s use.
Forest Trail athletic director Greg Eidshum said all the students will be involved in sports while pursuing a variety of degree programs through an arrangement with Waldorf University.
Classes will be “piped in” to classrooms at Barber-Scotia and there will be coaches and instructors in every classroom. It will use a collaborative learning method where students work together in small groups but are held accountable individually.
Barber-Scotia suspended operations for the past spring, and remains in peril since losing its Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation in 2004 and being rejected by the Transitional Association of Christian Colleges and Schools for accreditation in 2009.
BSC officials said in January that fundraising and accreditation appeal efforts were underway to position the school of a fall reopening, but the Forest Trail agreement signals that the college may not be close to that goal.
According to its website, Forest Trail promotes a living and learning college experience around year-round competition in athletics. The school holds an accreditation and offers degrees in conjunction with Waldorf University, an Iowa-based for-profit school.
The deal is the second in two years involving an HBCU which results in the sale or leasing of campus property for private use. In 2014, Morris Brown College agreed to sell most of its campus property to Invest Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church to clear bankruptcy requirements and outstanding debt.
The sale was challenged by Clark Atlanta University, which said it had claim over parcels of land on the Morris Brown Campus, donated in the early 1900s to support the school’s growth and conditioned to be returned to CAU upon the discontinuation of educational use.
Clark Atlanta filed a lawsuit against Morris Brown for the sale of its land, and last March, state Supreme Court justices approved the case for trial.