/ Modified oct 9, 2023 8:19 p.m.

Miracle Valley Bible College first and second highest bidders back out of sale

The 37.5-acre property will now be offered to the third highest bidder

Miracle Valley Dome 1 Inside the dome atop of the Tabernacle of the Miracle Valley Bible College in Cochise County, AZ. July 31, 2023.
Summer Hom, AZPM News

Going once, going twice, but alas, not sold.

The second highest bidder of the Miracle Valley Bible College has backed out of the sale with a bid of $700,000. The highest bidder backed out of the sale when the auction closed in September.

The 37.5-acre bible college property was deeded to the state and placed in the care of the Cochise County Board of Supervisors last year when its most recent owner failed to pay more than $500,000 in property taxes.

Since then, the property was put up for auction at a starting price of $325,000, and its initial winner bid more than $700,000 dollars for it.

But after the highest bidder failed to provide payment to the county within the required five-days, the second highest bidder — Sam Bettencourt — won the property with his bid of $700,000.

Sam Bettencourt told AZPM that after the highest bidder won the property on September 22, he purchased a different property in Sunsites, and decided not to purchase the bible college.

County officials say the property will now go to the third highest bidder, who has until this Friday to provide payment to the county and close the sale. The Cochise County Board of Supervisors will vote to approve the sale — along with the other properties that were up for auction — in November.


Pentecostal minister Asa A. Allen — or commonly referred to as A.A. Allen — founded the Miracle Valley Bible College in 1958; Allen passed away in 1970.

The property’s condition has since declined. Across what remains of the campus, windows are broken in many of the buildings, and parts of the roofs have collapsed, leaving the buildings open to the elements. Owls, hawks, and other wildlife have taken refuge in the buildings. The boy's dormitory has extensive fire damage and it and three other buildings contain asbestos.

Earlier this year, the Cochise County Development Services Department had recommended demolishing two buildings on the Miracle Valley Bible College campus due to their poor condition and the presence of asbestos in order to prepare the property for auction.

Some members of the public, identifying themselves as advocates for the bible college’s restoration, spoke during the county board of supervisors' meetings in opposition to removing any building from the property, even with its current condition.

They claim that since Arizona’s State Historic Preservation Office has determined that the property is eligible for listing in the National and Arizona Registers of Historic Places, they don’t want history removed.

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