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Tentative buyer for parts of Taylor campus announced

April 16, 2010

Taylor University officials invited neighborhood leaders to an “early release” news event at Brown Gables at noon today. The public press release was given at 2PM, and follows:

Leona LLC Signs Letter of Intent Toward Purchase of Former TUFW Campus

Officials from Taylor University and The Leona Group LLC have announced that Taylor and Leona have signed a letter of intent which could lead to the eventual sale of the former Taylor University Fort Wayne (TUFW) campus at 1025 West Rudisill Blvd.

While the agreement between Taylor and Leona is preliminary in nature, the desired result would be an educational partnership utilizing the property and buildings on Rudisill’s south side. In the coming weeks, Leona officials will work to identify education-related businesses and services to partner with them. This process will include interaction with local government and economic development specialists, as well as representatives of the surrounding neighborhood associations, as the project begins to take shape.

The possible sale does not include the WBCL studio, the Fort Wayne Alumni and Friends Resource Center or the buildings on the north side of Rudisill.

Leona, headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., operates the Timothy L. Johnson School on Anthony Blvd. in Fort Wayne, as well 71 charter schools throughout the United States.

Taylor officials said the sale, if completed, would result in continued education-related use of the property, which prior to becoming Taylor University Fort Wayne in 1992 was Summit Christian College and Fort Wayne Bible College.

—- end of statement —-

Thanks to Alumni Center Director Michael Mortensen for the release.

In the early Q & A session, Taylor and Leona officials suggested the campus could be a boarding school, taking advantage of the dorms and food services facilities on the property. One answer suggested it could be a residential campus for foreign students. Leona may also sub-lease office space to “education-based” businesses.

The buildings on the historic core of campus on the north side of Rudisill are not included, nor is the WBCL office, Brown Gables and the future Alumni Resource Center.

The Leona Group was founded by former FWCS Superintendent Dr. Bill Coats.  The Leona Group runs sixty charter schools, including one in Indiana, the Timothy Johnson Academy on South Anthony Boulevard.

Naturally, there are many questions. There may be meetings to share more information in the near future, and when we can reliably update the information, we will.

Steve McCord and Pat Thomson

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Bill Decker permalink
    April 16, 2010 8:04 pm

    While I am happy that someone is looking at the Taylor property. I have some real concerns. Leona Group runs Johnson Academy, here in Fort Wayne. It lost its license to run a middle school program in 2007. Yes, it was doing so poorly that Ball State shut down the middle school! Leona’s founder was the former FWCS superintendent (enough said). While one can’t always believe rumors, Johnson Academy has far more negative being said about it locally than positive. If the new campus at Taylor is run in a similar manner; or worse yet, Johnson Academy moves to the Taylor campus, it could be detrimental to the neighborhood.

    We need a quality institution; so far, Leona has not proved that they can provide that level of product.

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