Published on October 6, 2006 by Philip Poole  

Samford University has exercised an option to purchase a tract of land near the campus that was sold to a developer in 2004.

The 17-acre tract, located on University Park Drive adjacent to Homewood High School, had been targeted for residential and commercial development, but the plans did not materialize. At the time of the original sale, Samford retained right of first offer should the developer decide to sell, according to Joseph W. Mathews Jr., Samford's vice president for business affairs.

Samford had used the property as overflow parking prior to the sale. At the time of the sale, the university had no plans for developing the land.

"Since we originally sold the property, we have made the decision to construct a new arena in the central campus that is dramatically changing our campus landscape," Mathews said. "It is now in the university's best interests to re-acquire the University Park Drive tract for future campus expansion."

The University will continue to use the tract as overflow parking for the immediate future and study potential future use as part of the ongoing strategic planning process, Mathews said.

The University's board of trustees authorized university officials to negotiate the purchase at their September meeting. Terms of the sale have not been disclosed.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.