Mountain State University knows it's best to quit shopping when the money runs out.
Joining the long list of financially strained colleges, the West Virginia school announced it will likely sell its 555,000-square-foot Martinsburg Mall in addition to liquidating some of its other assets.
The decision was announced by the university's interim president, Richard Sours, during an emergency injunction hearing on Tuesday. He explained MSU had not put any buildings up for sale yet, but it was likely to happen so long as the sell didn't "impact the university’s core mission."
“If a buyer comes along and offers us a fair price for the mall, we’d be willing to sell that,” said Sours.
The Herald Mail reports that the university has a direct debt of $27 million and an overall debt of almost $34 million, according to a Moody's Investors Service report.
Martinsburg Mall is located in Berkeley County, right near the main campus. It was purchased in April 2010 for $11 million dollars with a loan held through City National Bank. Apparently the school planned to turn 13,000 square feet of the building into classrooms or offices for administration.
However, the university learned earlier this past month that the Higher Learning Commission was withdrawing its accreditation. They listed "systemic breakdowns in leadership, program oversight, integrity issues and failing to provide accreditation information to students" as the reasons for the withdrawal.
MSU Board of Trustees Chairman Jerry Ice confirmed the university is working overtime to get the decision appealed. He explained that even if the appeal doesn't work, the process will give students additional time to decide to which universities they want to transfer.
Though the appeals process is set to conclude no later than November 12, the Higher Learning Commission doesn't withdraw accreditation mid semester. Students at MSU could have through December 31 to complete their degrees or earn credits from an accredited university.
Meanwhile the school is cutting half its staff and ceasing admission operations.