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The Jefferson College Board of Trustees has sold 24.33 acres of land the college owns in Byrnes Mill to Lon Simmons, doing business as Lon Simmons Realty LLC, for $625,000.

The property is vacant and is at the southeast quadrant of Hwy. 30 and Gravois Road.

President Dena McCaffrey said when the college bought the property in 2006 for $2 million from David Ault, officials believed the area would be developed, but that never happened.

As a result, the property is not worth what it used to be, college officials reported.

“There was a long-term vision for the property when it was purchased,” McCaffrey said. “However, development in that area was less than predicted.”

According to a written statement from the college, the property was last appraised in 2020 for $525,000, based on similar properties in the region.

The written statement also said that when the college purchased the property in 2006, a third-party appraisal estimated the market value at $2.1 million based on the anticipation that the Hwy. 30 corridor would experience continued growth in commercial and retail development.

College leaders had intended to use the property as an educational site for northwestern Jefferson County, according to the statement.

Even without a college building in northwest Jefferson County, the college has offered educational opportunities there by other means, McCaffrey said.

“Over the last several years, we worked hard to serve the residents in the northwest part of the county through partnership with the Northwest School District and the Northwest Branch of the (Jefferson County Library) and additional online course offerings,” she said.

“We continue to make a priority of serving the residents of Jefferson County in reaching our educational goals.”

The college also said that in 2012 Ault made a $500,000 bequest to the Jefferson College Foundation and donated a luxury home at the Fox Run Golf Club to the foundation. Together, those gifts totaled approximately $1 million, the largest gift in the foundation’s history.

The college trustees voted 4-0 on March 10 to sell the property to Simmons. Board member Susan Tuggle abstained from the vote and Steve Meinberg was absent.