The entire former Taylor University campus on Rudisill Boulevard is now in the hands of a local consulting group working to attract non-profit groups and academic institutions to the south-side site.
Ambassador Enterprises, which bought Taylor's 22-acre campus on the south side of Rudisill in 2011 after the Upland-based school closed its Fort Wayne satellite in 2009, this month purchased the 3.5-acre, three-building campus on the north side of the street for $177,000, according to county land records.
Although Ambassador has no immediate plans for the newly acquired property, spokesman Randy Carman said the purchase will allow the group to maintain the site for the sake of the neighborhood and to incorporate it into Ambassador's long-range plan for the entire campus.
“We wanted to protect the property so it could be used in a way that fits into our mission,” Carman added.
Ambassador's review of the site will include an analysis of the three remaining buildings: the century-old Schultz Hall, a dormitory boarded up as the result of an arsonist's fire in 2005; Bethany Hall, erected in 1929; and the newer Oakwood Apartments. Taylor tore down two other buildings, including Founders Hall, last year. That engineer's analysis could help determine whether the surviving buildings are renovated or razed. Historic preservation group ARCH has put Bethany and Schultz halls on its list of endangered properties.
The southern campus, now known as “The Summit,” has already attracted attention from would-be tenants. Grace College operates a satellite, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana plans to move its headquarters there and the Sun Academy, a bilingual charter school, hopes to open this fall.
Jim Sack, president of the West Rudisill Neighborhood Association, said he is cautiously optimistic about the change in ownership.
"Taylor was a poor steward of the campus, while Ambassador has done a pretty good job with the south campus. So we have hope. We want to see the area prosper," Sack said. The main concern, he added, is that development will create traffic congestion.