CCU programs may leave Litchfield Beach education center, but will continue

For The Sun NewsOctober 10, 2012 

— Coastal Carolina University may vacate its heavily-used outreach center in Litchfield in December rather than June, but there will be no interruption in programs, officials say.

The 8-year-old Waccamaw Higher Education Center at 160 Willbrook Boulevard, which CCU leases, is for sale or lease and has drawn interest from someone who may want it quickly, said Steve Goggans, one of the building’s owners.

The center houses the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute programs as well as many community meetings and activities. Classes range from photography to local history, art and computers.

Goggans and the other three owners built the center to order for CCU and leased it to the college. The lease expires June 30.

Because CCU has been leasing only about half the building, the owners put it up for sale at $2.3 million or lease.

Earlier this week, the owners asked if CCU would consider leaving early, and that request will be before the board at its regular meeting Oct. 26, said spokeswoman Martha Hunn.

The owners ``did come to us and let us know that there was a buyer,’’ she said. ``They did ask us if we would consider moving out at the end of this semester.’’

The college may be willing, but it is up to the board, she said.

``The university has a good relationship with the owners of the building,’’ Hunn said.

If the board decides to grant the request, the center would move after the end of December classes, and would be in a new location in time for the January term.

``The university is very committed to the Osher Lifelong Learning program,’’ Hunn said.

She said the school has an alternate site available near the existing center, but would not specify, adding that ``we’re also looking at others.’’

Goggans said several prospects have looked at the building and ``expressed interest,’’ but there is not yet a firm offer or contract.

He said the owners asked CCU if it could leave early if a prospect needed it sooner.

The building also is available for lease, Goggans said. The owners are willing to lease the whole building on a multi-year contract, but their aim is to have it all rented out or to sell it because it is not at its full income potential, he said.

Rumors began to circulate early in the week that Georgetown Hospital System had bought the building and ordered CCU to leave as soon as possible, but both Hunn and Goggans said there was no substance to those stories.

Goggans said the hospital is among groups that have looked at the property. Representatives of the hospital did not respond to several messages seeking comment.

Contact Zane Wilson at xtsnscribe@aol.com.

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