YHC acquires three new properties
By Erin Grable, Staff Writer
Over the Christmas break, Young Harris College became the owner of a nearby property across from campus. According to an e-mail from Young Harris President Cathy Cox, the property includes the Young Harris motel, the adjoining locally-owned restaurant The Bread of Life and the two-story building that was previously a real estate office.
YHC has been discussing the purchase since last fall, when a local bank began procedures to foreclosure on the properties; but the foreclosure was not completed until December 31 of last year.
According to Denise Cook, the director of Communications and Marketing at YHC, the purchase of this property is beneficial to YHC’s long-term plans for growth as a four-year college.
“I am glad the college bought it hopefully the turnover will bring more business,” said Elizabeth Eller, owner of The Bread of Life restaurant. “[Outsiders] were looking at buying it now it will stay local.”
The motel and office buildings are vacant, but the restaurant is still being operated by the Eller family from the city of Young Harris. Although the YHC owns the land, their restaurant will remain open and the Eller family will operate it.
YHC has made plans to improve the appearance of the restaurant by providing a new sign for the restaurant.
“Young Harris is better suited to update the appearance, and it will be important what it looks like to the college,” said Eller. “The college is providing a new sign for the restaurant with lighting, and they are going to repair the ground. We are just waiting on the weather.”
In a META e-mail sent to all faculty over Christmas break, Cox mentioned that plans for the motel property have not been finalized, but many have been discussed. These include using the property as student housing, depending on if the enrollment rises higher than expected for the fall semester. If this option is finalized, then students could reside for a year in the motel if the enrollment exceeds expectations for next fall.
“I would want to live in the motel, because even though it is just across the road it is more off campus,” said junior Mallory Holland from Woodstock.
Other students like junior Ben Garner from Dahlonega mentioned that he would consider staying at the motel if the pool was available to students, since there was no longer a pool on campus.
Despite outside appearances, Cox was quick to mention that the motel is “quite appealing” on the inside.
Another alternative for the space applies to YHC faculty and staff. The college is expanding, and it will need additional office space for next fall. The motel has been discussed as a potential area for office space or academic programs.
“We definitely will need more office space, if the plan to tear down the old recreational center goes through,” said Diane Bauman, an instructor of mathematics at YHC.
According to Cook, YHC has considered using the two-story building as office space for the Bonner Leaders program and the Appalachian Studies program; however, no final plans have been made for any of these properties.
Cox pointed out that this purchase did not include the buildings behind the two-story office building that are “falling into the ground.” Those buildings are still owned by the initial property owner.
Also, the purchase does not include the rundown white buildings with broken windows at the intersection of Main and Murphy Street at the stop light behind the Brodi t-shirt business. That building was recently purchased by Barry Brown, the head cross country coach and owner of the Brodi.
“No final decisions have been made at this time, but a decision will be made this spring regarding the short-term and long-term use of the property,” said Cook. “This ownership provides Young Harris College with flexibility as administration examines the options for managing the exciting growth the college is experiencing as a four-year college.”