Judge approves college’s purchase of country club

COLUMBUS — A federal bankruptcy judge has approved East Mississippi Community College’s acquisition of the Columbus Country Club.

EMCC was the only bidder at $1.6 million.

EMCC officials tell The Commercial Dispatch the school will use the property to expand its course offerings and relocate programs from crowded campus in Mayhew.

The country club, which opened in 1923, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011. The sale was approved in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Aberdeen.

The sale will only satisfy debt to the first primary secured creditor, a five-bank consortium to which the Country Club owes $1.52 million.

The remaining primary secured creditors — Cadence Bank and Columbus businessman David Shelton — will not be repaid, according to court records. The country club owed Cadence $212,762 and owed Shelton $375,438.

EMCC President Dr. Rick Young said the junior college currently serves 5,000 students at two main campuses, Scooba and Mayhew, and four branch campuses.

Young said the country club saved the cost of building a new facility and space will be regained when the culinary arts and hotel and restaurant management programs move to the country club in January. The two programs serve around 65 students.

EMCC also plans a turf management program, as well as space for the golf team and a collegiate tennis program in the future.

“It’s a good business decision that frees up some space,” Young said. “This will relieve a little bit of the stress for the time being.”

Young said civic organizations will still be able to hold meetings at the clubhouse, and the facilities will still be available for weddings and social functions. EMCC will host leadership and corporate management training onsite.

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