CONCORD, N.C. — The City of Concord is dissolving the task force that formed to revitalize a local historically Black college. The college is at the center of a years-long Channel 9 investigation.
The city said it formed the Barber-Scotia Community Task Force six years ago with the goal of working with college leadership, alumni, and the community to revamp the school.
“It was our hope then, and continues to be our desire today, to see the campus restored to its former place of prominence as a premiere center of learning, entrepreneurship, innovation, and community,” a statement from the city reads.
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The task force was created to help preserve the campus buildings and preserve the school’s legacy as an HBCU. The city said they signed a “Statement of Collaboration” with the college and hired outside experts to advise the task force. The group held “countless” meetings and the city said it gave them resources to help with their work -- including an “extensive community survey.”
.@ConcordNCgov announces they're dissolving the Barber-Scotia Community Task Force. "Despite our efforts and financial commitment, Barber-Scotia College officials refuse to work in partnership with us, and have continuously obstructed the work of the Task Force." pic.twitter.com/iJmnwPTmSg— Michael Stolp (@StolpWSOC9) March 16, 2023
“These efforts and more generated new ideas and possibilities to reinvigorate the campus,” the City of Concord said. “Unfortunately, all of them were met with resistance by college officials, and often times met with no response at all.”
Officials said they saw more of the same after they agreed to fund an engineering and construction study on Barber-Scotia’s buildings. The goal was to analyze what renovations were needed and how much they would cost.
“College officials cancelled the study at the last minute without explanation,” the statement read.
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The city council said it was barriers like these that led to the decision to dissolve the task force.
“For any task force to be successful it takes a shared commitment and true collaboration,” the city said. “...Despite our efforts and financial commitment, Barber-Scotia College officials refuse to work in partnership with us, and have continuously obstructed the work of the Task Force. We no longer believe it is possible for the Task Force to work effectively in pursuit of a revitalized campus.”
The City of Concord said though the group is folding, they still hope to restore college so it can be “buzzing with activity and thriving with renewed energy and purpose.”
How we got here
Barber-Scotia College, located in downtown Concord, was one the Charlotte region’s most beloved historically Black colleges. However, the college has been under a microscope since it lost its accreditation back in 2004, which was because the school defaulted on a federal loan. When the government cut off financial aid, the college lost its way.
The school, which was founded in 1867, has several buildings that have since crumbled and now need millions in repairs. According to the City of Concord, six of the 15 buildings are currently uninhabitable and another three have violations.
The college has been exempt from paying property taxes due to it being used for educational purposes. But earlier this month, Cabarrus County tax officials informed the school’s administrators that tax exemption for 14 of the 24 parcels of land it owns were denied due to not meeting statutory requirements for exemption. Barber-Scotia administrators have until March 20 to appeal.
Barber-Scotia administrators said nine students are enrolled as online students this semester.
(WATCH BELOW: Barber Scotia College works to pay off debt, earn back accreditation)
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