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SCC Sells Fort Madison Center, Seeks New Location

SCC is selling its center in Fort Madison to Harmony Bible Church.

Southeastern Community College (SCC) is selling its Fort Madison Center to Harmony Bible Church for $230,000. The Board of Trustees, this week, approved the sale of the one-story brick building at 1602 Ave. F.

The college said the building was originally a church, but upon its acquisition in 2004, it was renovated to include three classrooms and some office space. It's been used for continuing education workshops, college-level classes and corporate training workshops.

But SCC President Dr. Michael Ash said the building is no longer meeting the college's needs or those of the community.

"There are some challenges with the center in terms of location and facility limitations that makes it difficult to justify some of the major investment we will soon need to make to keep it in good shape," said Ash.

Ash said fewer Fort Madison residents are using the building. He said the bypass around the city makes it easier for local students to attend classes on the West Burlington or Keokuk campuses, which also expands their educational opportunities.

And the Fort Madison Alternative High School, which had been housed in the basement, is moving back to the main high school campus.

"That leaves us with a building that's too big for our needs," said Ash. "We believe that we can find a new location that's more appropriate for our needs, yet gives us the flexibility to adjust to the types of services the community needs SCC to provide."

Ash said the college has been in talks with developers about incorporating SCC into a plan to revitalize Avenue G through downtown Fort Madison. He said this would benefit the college in its attempt to gain students and partner with organizations like LCEDG and the Fort Madison Partners on workforce development needs.

"There are a lot of benefits of relocating downtown," said Ash. "It would be closer to more business traffic, we could engage with the developer to have a say in the layout of a building as it's being renovated and our presence could help serve as a catalyst for future downtown development."

The transfer of the building will not occur until June 30 due to prior commitments.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.