By Michael Kaplan
The schoolâs ranch in Glenwood, New Mexico has been sold for $620,000, a price $230,000 less than expected.
After three months of escrow, the property was purchased by Domanick Bohnett. The school has spent $2 million on Los Olmos, including $1.2 million to purchase the property. It was intended as a remote campus for summer school, retreats and special programs.
Construction problems plagued the project and the Board moved to shutter it and appointed Chief of Campus Operations Jim De Matte to find a buyer.
âI spent two years trying to find a buyer for the property, and with every passing day irritation increased amoung the people of New Mexio,â De Matte said.
âDeal after deal fell through and it was apparent that the school was going to take an economic hit.â
âItâs hard enough selling a property thatâs two states away, especially when there isnât that big of a market,â said Chief Financial Officer Rob Levin.
âIt could be the greatest property of the world, but if there are only seven people interested itâs hard to find someone who wants to come to a similar deal as you do.â
De Matte had to restructure the deal when the State of New Mexico changed its regulations and the septic system at Los Olmos, which had given the school problems in the past, no longer met these new regulations.
âIt would have cost an extra $100,000 to $200,000 to not only fix the septic problems, but maintain the property during the escrow,â De Matte said.
The Building and Grounds Committee believed that the school would lose more money if they went into the eight-to-nine-month escrow the buyer was giving the school to fix the extensive management problems.
âOur expectations were to sell it,â President Thomas C. Hudnut said. âWe sold it for what we could get for it. People tell you your car is worth $150,000, well, it isnât worth anything until someone gives the check for it. We got what we could get.â
âUpon my recomendations the Building and Grounds Committee of the Board of Trustees thought that the best thing to do was lay out an âas isâ deal, basicially so we can just get rid of the property and this was the best deal we got,â De Matte said.
DeMatte said he believed Bohnett, an entrepreneur who took possession in July, would keep the property for personal use rather than opening a lodge or bed and breakfast. Bohnett declined to comment.
âI doubt that we will ever make another attempt at a remote campus,â De Matte said. âI highly doubt it.â