Evangelist Oral Roberts abandoned a 2 1/2-year fight this week to save his City of Faith Hospital and medical school, saying he will close both in the wake of his Tulsa ministry's mounting $25 million debt. Roberts said Wednesday that the financially strapped evangelistic association also will sell five ministry-owned houses -- including the ones in which he and his son Richard live -- and a housing complex for married students near the Oral Roberts University campus. Roberts said that barring a miracle, the City of Faith, constructed in January 1978, will be closed by Jan. 1, and the medical school by the end of the spring semester in May. Two years ago, Roberts announced he needed $8 million to train medical missionaries at his school by April 1, 1987, or God would "call me home." The money eventually was raised with the help of a $1.3 million donation from Florida greyhound track owner Jerry Collins. The evangelical journal Christianity Today subsequently reported that few if any of the students benefited from the contributions. The closings announced this week will affect about 600 hospital employees, 147 students and 100 faculty members. Medical student Pat Rice, 30, who came to ORU from San Jose, Calif., said he was not surprised by the decision. But he expressed regret over the timing, saying it may mean that he and fellow third-year students will have to repeat some course work when transferring elsewhere. "I've been here two and a half years and kind of watched things fall apart," Rice said. "I've watched doctors leave in droves. I've watched classmates leave in droves . . . . I frankly don't have a lot of confidence in the leadership here from what I've seen and experienced. You get told one thing and other things happen." The Tulsa Area Hospital Council strongly opposed Roberts's plans to build the hospital when it was first announced in 1977, saying Oklahoma's second-largest city already had an overabundance of hospital beds. But Roberts ultimately won approval from the Oklahoma Health Planning Commission to operate 284 beds in the facility built for 777. In 1980, the evangelist said he had seen a 900-foot-tall image of Jesus above the hospital construction site, which he claimed was a sign from God that the hospital should be completed. But the influx of patients that Roberts anticipated from among his followers never materialized. On March 27, Roberts disclosed that he needed the $11 million to keep creditors from dismantling his ministry, university and hospital. Although the money ultimately was raised, Roberts announced that he was withdrawing the university's sports program from membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association and affiliating instead with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, a group that includes primarily smaller colleges and universities. The action was expected to save the school $500,000 to $1 million per year. In August, the ministry, in a further cost-cutting effort, laid off 250 employees and canceled contracts with some commercial television stations that had been airing Richard Roberts's daily show. Roberts has said his ministry has been plagued by a steady decline in financial donations over the past two years -- a drop that he attributed to the "spirit of skepticism" after scandals in the ministries of television evangelists Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart. According to ministry officials, donations dropped from about $5 million a month to $2.7 million a month over the last two years. In announcing the decision to close the medical complex, Roberts said that if by some "miracle" a $50 million endowment could be raised, it would ensure the long-term future of the facility.