Ohio University designates Proctorville Center as surplus property

The woman whose father donated the land to OU says she's extremely disappointed and saddened.
Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 10:33 PM EDT
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PROCTORVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) - Ohio University announced Friday that their Board of Trustees reviewed and approved a resolution designating their Proctorville Center as surplus property.

It means the university can officially sell the center. They say no sale is imminent.

Those who had hopes two decades ago for what an OU Proctorville Center could mean for the area say it’s a sad day.

Dee Rucker’s father, Marshall Smith, donated the land to the university in the year 2000 with the goal of offering classes to non-traditional students. Community members donated money to allow the center to open in 2007.

“The community made it happen,” Rucker said. “For them to come in and take it away, I just don’t see how you can do that.”

The dream did not pan out the way they’d envisioned.

“I’m just extremely disappointed and saddened,” Rucker said. “I just hate to even drive by there now and just think, ‘Well, they don’t want it.’”

The university says the center will only be sold to another educational organization.

Last month, the university president said in a letter that the center has had declining enrollment and decreased revenues.

Rucker says in-person classes haven’t been taught at the center since the fall of 2021.

“It flourished,” she said. “It was doing great, and then they just quit offering classes, and you can’t have enrollment if you don’t have classes.”

On March 14, donors and community members protested amid rumors this was coming. University officials held a private meeting at the center in Proctorville that day with a small number of people with ties to the facility, where they learned the administration’s intention to sell it.

“I just feel like I’m letting my dad down, and I feel like they’re letting him down too,” Rucker said.

Ohio University says any revenues from the sale will go toward scholarships, grants, and other educational areas.

Rucker says she feels donors should have a say in who the center is sold to, and she’d prefer it be related to some form of higher education.