In February, firefighters also found fire on the second floor of the Middleton Complex. Vagrants were inside, but no one was injured.
In August 2015, former honors dormitory Gaines Hall, owned by Invest Atlanta, caught fire. The cause was not determined.
“One of the challenges with the Middleton towers is that when we bought it, (the building) had not been used by Morris Brown for 10 years and had become occupied by homeless residents of the city,” said Hawk, who is also chairman of Friendship Baptist’s trustee board.
The church built a fence to keep out trespassers, but it was stolen and sold for scrap, he said. The building was also boarded up and security officers hired to patrol the property, but people still managed to get into the building.
Friendship plans to rebuild and restructure the entire area it purchased from the school, which also includes a gymnasium, Hawk said. Friendship is also building a new church on the property, which it plans to have completed by April 2017, in time for its 155th anniversary.
Morris Brown retained ownership of the school's administration building, Griffin Hightower Classroom building and Fountain Hall. The school plans to refurbish all of those buildings, beginning with the administration building, which is currently occupies.