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School works toward closure

BY KATHLEEN FOXkfox@paducahsun.com

MAYFIELD - On the heels of the final graduation at Mid-Continent University, the Board of Trustees met Tuesday night as the upcoming closure date looms.

The trustees met nearly four hours to discuss several items that will require action during the shutdown process, according to Chairman Tom Butler. He mentioned the future of the main campus property, including security needs when the property is empty, payment of school debts and bills, and other housekeeping necessities. However, school officials wouldn't comment on any particulars associated with the future use of the property after the meeting.

Acting president Robert "Tom" Walden did announce that the university has completed "Teach Out" agreements with Murray State University, Campbellsville University and the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg.

He said the "Teach Out" programs, which took about a month to cement, allow for a more seamless transition through the loosening of residency requirements for current Mid-Continent students. Transcripts are available in the school registrar's office in the administration building on campus. If a student needs an official document after the school closes, the Kentucky State Board for Proprietary Education will maintain the records and provide transcripts.

The "Teach Out" agreement will now be sent to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for approval. Because the university has maintained its SACS accreditation, all completed courses credits other than some biblical studies classes will transfer to other institutions, he said.

Colleges from across the region - including Murray State University, West Kentucky Community & Technical College, Western Kentucky University, Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Midway College and University of Tennessee at Martin - have reached out to displaced Mid-Continent students with transfer events since the closure announcement.

All campus operations are set to end on June 30 with the final cycle of online Advantage courses concluding in mid-June. Walden said the college currently has enough money to make it to that date "but it will be tight." Mid-Continent is still accepting donations from the community toward operating costs, he said.

During an April 15 meeting, the Board of Trustees laid off about 150 faculty and staff members. Some of the essential faculty members were recalled due to 20 acres of land sold on Pecan Drive in Paducah, which closed last week. CDB Service and Finance LLC. in Mayfield purchased the property for $630,000, about $35,000 more than the college paid in 2008, according to the McCracken County Clerk's office.

The university sold 63 acres on U.S. 45 across from the main campus to Michael Harris and Mako Nesler, both of Graves County, for $325,000, which closed in April, according to the Graves County Clerk's Office. The university also sold about 20 vehicles.

Students were able to reach graduation because school personnel volunteered to finish teaching classes with at least one student due to graduate. The school had to raise about $10,000 in donations to hold Saturday's commencement, which saw more than 400 students walk across the stage.

The tentative date for the next Board of Trustees meeting is 6 p.m. June 17 on campus. Walden will remain in the acting president role for another 30 days, he said.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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