The campus of a school with eight decades of history in Birmingham is for sale after the school ceased operations, but its legacy may live on with a new Magic City institution.
The property at 2545 Valleydale Road, formerly home to Southeastern Bible College, is listed for sale by Ogden Deaton of Graham & Co. The listing includes two separate sites.
Site one consists of 16 acres and includes an 87,000-square-foot former church property with classrooms, a sanctuary and offices as well as large meeting rooms and dining facilities. It also includes athletic facilities and a 460-space parking lot. The price is listed at $5.79 million.
Site two, listed for $1.75 million, is 4 acres and includes two dorm buildings and one house. The site was previously graded for additional housing buildings that were never built.
The property sits on the well-traveled Valleydale Road corridor, and is four miles to U.S. 280 and three miles to Interstate 65. Information from Graham & Co. says the property is well suited for a number of uses, including a church, college, school or conference center.
Southeastern Bible College ceased operations in June 2017, and was later acquired by North Carolina-based Piedmont International University.
Dr. Charles Petitt, president at Piedmont International University, told the BBJ that the sale of the SEBC campus is one part of its strategy moving forward. He said they are also starting a feasibility study to explore next steps, and that he plans for Birmingham to play a big part of the university’s future.
Petitt said Piedmont plans to honor the legacy of Southeastern by using its acronym, SEBC, and establishing the first Smart Efficient Blended Campus that offers a wide variety of degrees in a technologically advanced setting in Birmingham. Piedmont will also offer all Southeastern Bible College alumni and their families a generous scholarship at the new school.
A location for the SEBC in Birmingham has not yet been decided.
In recent years, as religion-based higher education institutions have struggled to keep their doors open, Petitt said Piedmont began to change its strategy for serving students. The university has now partnered with several other institutions like it has with Southeastern, including John Wesley University which offers a business management degree modeled after and endorsed by Wharton Business School.
As for Birmingham, Petitt said everything hinges on the success of the SEBC, where students will be able to take advantage of a blended on-campus and online experience. He said if it works here it could be replicated in other places.
Petitt said Piedmont is able to run all of its campuses from its central office in Winston-Salem, and that the on-campus experience can be handled in much less space than in previous years.
The new technology-centered approach allows Piedmont to cut out duplication and focus on the student experience. The university now has presence in all 50 states and in 90 countries worldwide.
Petitt said the ultimate goal is to offer classes to every country of the world–and Birmingham will play a key role in achieving that goal.