Task force created to revitalize Barber-Scotia College has been dissolved, according to City of Concord
City blames lack of cooperation, participation from college officials
CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - A task force that was put in place six years ago to study the possibility of revitalizing Barber-Scotia College has now been dissolved, according to a statement from the City of Concord.
“We no longer believe it is possible for the Task Force to work effectively in pursuit of a revitalized campus. For this reason, we have decided to formally dissolve the Barber-Scotia Community Task Force,” the statement says.
Hopes had been high over the last six years that new life could be brought to the historic campus.
In June 2021, nearly 800 participants responded to the joint call from the City of Concord and Barber-Scotia College for community input on the revitalization of the HBCU and its campus. The community survey and online presentation ran the entire month of May, and included a video that explained the project, the survey, and historical significance of the school.
Members of the Barber-Scotia Community Task Force reviewed the data and overall were pleased with the results. Altogether, 797 participants responded to the community survey, generating 12,516 responses and 2,245 comments. After reviewing the survey data, Task Force members reported:
- 72.5% of participants believe education should be a main component of any revitalization effort
- 79.8% of participants believe culture and history should be a main component of any revitalization effort
- 91.2% of participants believe community impact should be a main component of any revitalization effort
According to the statement released by the city on Thursday, the high hopes of two years ago would not be able to be realized due to other factors, such as the condition of many of the buildings on campus.
“Regrettably, in the nearly 20 years since the college lost its accreditation, the campus has fallen into disrepair with six of the 15 buildings currently deemed uninhabitable and another three with violations. It has been years since students lived and studied on campus, and 18 years since the last degree was awarded by the school.”
The statement also blamed Barber-Scotia college officials for a lack of participation in the process.
“City Council created the Task Force to work in partnership with Barber-Scotia’s leadership to address these significant challenges and identify a path forward that preserves the college’s iconic buildings and honors its legacy as a historically black college. We signed a formal Statement of Collaboration with the college, and hired expert outside consultants to advise the Task Force and help guide their collaborative work. Task Force members held countless meetings and we provided substantial resources to support their work, including an extensive community survey. These efforts and more generated new ideas and possibilities to reinvigorate the campus. Unfortunately, all of them were met with resistance by college officials, and often times met with no response at all. We also offered financing for a comprehensive engineering and construction study on all of the campus buildings to understand renovation and repair costs so the college could develop a rehab plan and raise necessary funding. College officials cancelled the study at the last minute without explanation.”
“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 statement concluded on a hopeful note that future efforts would prove more beneficial.
“It is our sincere hope that one day we may still see a vibrant, restored campus buzzing with activity and thriving with renewed energy and purpose. Our city is growing and it is our deep desire for the college to grow with us. Even as we close this chapter and disband the Task Force, we hold onto hope that Barber-Scotia College’s legacy will not whither and the college will continue to inspire generations to come.”
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