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USA Veterans Hope Center President Almer Jackson says the group wants to bid on the Central Bible College campus in October.
USA Veterans Hope Center President Almer Jackson says the group wants to bid on the Central Bible College campus in October.

Veterans group eyes CBC campus purchase

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USA Veterans Hope Center invited supporters and potential investors to Central Bible College Wednesday to lay out its vision for the vacant campus.

The Springfield-based veterans services nonprofit wants to make a bid on the 3000 N. Grant Ave. campus when it hits the auction block again in October. The CBC campus owner, the General Council of the Assemblies of God, rejected a bid during the first round that ended March 31.

“If you will trust us, we know we can make this campus completely self-sufficient in three years,” said USA Veterans Hope Center President Almer Jackson, speaking from CBC’s chapel. “People are excited about veterans.”

The donor-supported nonprofit currently operates out of a Glenstone Square suite at 1722 S. Glenstone Ave. There, USA Veterans Hope Center currently helps around 270 veterans with services largely intended to help ease military service members back into society. Services include post-traumatic stress disorder management, individual and family counseling, help for incarcerated vets and housing assistance.  

If its planned bid for the CBC campus is successful, Jackson said USA Veterans Hope Center could serve as many as 10,000 veterans per year, as well as support up to 100 jobs. The group, which does not provided medical care, is not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which is building a 92,000-square-foot Springfield clinic at 1800 W. Republic Road.

Jackson and the nonprofit are soliciting donations and strategic partnerships to make the proposed plan a reality. When asked, he did not specify how much the nonprofit needs to make a bid on the campus, but noted the center would consider purchasing the entire roughly 70-acre campus or portions during the upcoming auction.

“We’d like to have the whole campus but would consider parcels,” he said.

Also in attendance at the chapel were Rep. Lynn Morris, R-Nixa, and Michael Fine, principal of Deerfield, Illinois-based real estate auction and advisory service Fine & Co. LLC, which is contracted by Assembles of God to sell the campus.

Morris said he supports USA Veterans Hope Center’s proposal and would work at the state level to determine if financing can be made available.

“We could be a model for the entire country,” he said. “We can never do enough for veterans.”

Fine said while he wishes the nonprofit luck during the bidding process, he did not attend the news conference in support of the organization. Rather, he came to answer any questions about the campus.

He said the next auction date for the property is scheduled Oct. 4, when bidders can offer to purchase the entire campus or portions divided into parcels. Details of the parcels should come out next week, he said.

“We have a number of groups evaluating and investigating the Central Bible College,” Fine said.

The CBC campus comprises 24 buildings, including a gymnasium and four dormitories, undeveloped land, two ponds and a baseball field. It’s been empty since mid-2013, when CBC merged into Evangel University along with Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. The campus near Ozark Empire Fairgrounds has a 2017 taxable appraised value of $9.7 million, which is up from $9.5 million in 2016, according to Greene County assessor records.


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