By MILT CAPPS
Seven-plus acres of prime Franklin real estate long held by O’More College of Design are likely to be sold on the open market after the college’s merger with Belmont University is completed this spring.
Net proceeds of that land and real-estate sale would then go to retiring O’More debt and to establishing a scholarship fund for students entering what is soon to be known as the O’More School of Design within Belmont’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.
O’More President Shari Fox described that scenario when queried for this story. “There is a lot of interest in that property,” she added.
The O’More campus is off South Margin Street, just a few blocks from Franklin square.
Fox said O’More has not been involved in selecting a broker for the property listing, and she has not been involved in any steps that Belmont may have taken.
Belmont University media contacts have not yet responded to FHP’s query this morning regarding plans to market the property.
Fox said she will be directly involved in overseeing, integrating and adapting O’More educational offerings within Belmont’s programs, though it is too soon to speculate regarding her longer-term role within Belmont, if any.
Would-be design students who are applying to O’More for the 2018-19 academic year have been apprised of the planned change of ownership and venue, Fox said.
Fox said O’More currently has 152 students and 28 staff.
Research for this story shows about 86 percent of O’More students originate within Tennessee, whereas a like percentage of Belmont students originate beyond Tennessee. Belmont has more than 8,000 students.
O’More is Williamson County’s only four-year postsecondary institution.
In 2016, O’More College filed its routine IRS Form 990 for Federal Tax Year 2015.
That 990 filing, available today via Guidestar, showed that O’More assets including land, buildings and equipment were valued on cost or other bases as $7.6 million, against which the College showed just over $4 million in depreciation.
The book value of its land was listed on the Form 990 for 2015 at approximately $971,000.
The College’s Form 990 also showed about $4,991,533 in reconciled expenses for FY2015 for the institution, versus $4,826,722 in reconciled revenue.
In their joint announcement on the planned merger, Belmont made clear the university had laid out no cash for the property.
Fox said that O’More’s advisors for the merger include attorney Riney Green of Bass Berry & Sims.
The College, originally O’More School of Design, was registered with the State of Tennessee as a nonprofit organization in February 1970, according to state records online.