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Clearwater Christian College will close this month

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Clearwater Christian College will close its doors at the end of this month after nearly 50 years. The Board of Directors of the Christian liberal arts college announced Friday they will be closing.

“In order to address the challenges of declining enrollment, increased debt and lack of significant endowments or other revenue sources, the board and administration of Clearwater Christian College thoroughly investigated a variety of short-term and long-term viability options,” a statement on the college’s website reads. “Unfortunately the related due diligence process did not yield a resourced solution to the operational stress points of the college which could ensure completion of another academic school year.”

The school will close June 30.

It’s unclear what will happen to students currently enrolled in CCC. However, the administration is “working to help both current and prospective students move to their new transition of life.”

Baptist Bible College in Missouri is offering a $3,000 scholarship to students who transfer for the 2015-2016 school year.

The board asks for prayers in the weeks to come.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, tax documents filed by the school over the past several years tell a somber story of an institution in financial ruin.

In 2011 the school spent nearly $1 million more than it made. They improved substantially in 2012 only exceeding revenue by $141,000. In 2013 the school managed to make about a half million dollars.

But the debt appears to have been too crippling. The school owed more than $10 million, most in tax-exempt bonds. The school’s worth was only a little more than $4 million.

Arthur Steele founded Clearwater Christian College in 1965. He wanted to open a Christian college to restore biblical standards and morality to educational curriculum.

CCC is an accredited college and awards associate and bachelor degrees in business, education and other liberal arts majors. The school also offers a master of education degree.

CCC received approval from the State of Florida that allowed students to receive state certifications for teaching.

The school is nestled in a prime chunk of land just off Highway 60 in Clearwater. It’s just feet from Tampa Bay and a short bike ride to downtown Safety Harbor.

The school is known for churning out many young Republican campaign volunteers and interns.

News of the school’s closing was met with mostly sadness on Twitter. CCC alumnus Benjamin Ham joked on the social media site about future conversation’s with employers when they asked about where he attended college. When he answers “Clearwater Christian College,” Ham wrote the response might be something like, “that doesn’t even sound real.”

“Well, funny thing …” he wrote.

Another player on the CCC women’s soccer team, Taylor Endicott, wrote she will miss not playing with her teammates again.

Despite the school’s website still showing events scheduled for next school year, it will not be operating another year.

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Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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