The Dana College Campus in Blair, Nebraska has been closed almost a year after it was announced last June that it would not receive accreditation under new ownership. The property is for sale but the price was not disclosed until just recently. Blair City Administrator Rod Storm says it is quite a deal.
“That price has been listed at $5.9 dollars. That includes all of the ground and the buildings and everything the college has pledged to secure the loan payment.”
Storm says in an ideal world they would once again like to see students return and have a college or university purchase the property. However, the city did form a committee made up of community members to explore options.
“What alternatives. Whether it would be a convention center. Whether it would be a retreat center. Whether it would be a veteran’s home. Whether it would be a senior citizens home with housing and assisted living, low income housing. A variety of issues. Anything and everything that people could think of to keep it as a valuable part of the community.”
Storm says there has been interest in the property and it has been shown several times. Suggestions continue to come in and the city is willing to work with any group or organization wanting to develop the site.
“We had such suggestions as Village Point North, a reference to the mall out by Elkhorn. We had restaurants suggested overlooking the river bottom and the community for the Hunt Center. Most of it, if not all of them would not fit into the zoning as the city would have it today but we know we would have to alter that if we don’t get a college back there to open the doors.”
Storm says Dana had been a huge part of the community but surprisingly, the community isn’t seeing a big financial impact since the school closed.
“The college didn’t pay property taxes. Most of the professors and so forth have gotten jobs locally and continue to live here. From the sales tax revenue, our sales tax keeps coming in equal or greater than it did for the same months when we had students on campus a year ago. As a community, we are holding our own. We’re not slipping back economic-wise but what we’re not doing is gaining like we would if we had six-hundred students up on the hill.”
Storm also commented on the asking price.
“There are several of those buildings that are worth that 5-point-nine million just in themselves. The athletic facilities. The new classroom building, Dana Hall which was built just 15 years ago so there is a lot of value there.”