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Plans set for Baptist Student Ministry building renovation

Staff Reporter

Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 18:11

Plans to demolish and reconstruct the Baptist Student Ministry are underway, according to BSM Director David Griffin.

Architects were assigned to design a new facility after it was determined that various structural and mechanical issues would be otherwise too expensive to repair.

“A new building would alleviate these issues, plus allow us to produce a building that will work more efficiently and be more aesthetically appealing on campus,” Griffin said.

The university made an offer to buy the BSM building at a market price in January, but the BSM declined the offer to take on its own reconstruction project.

“We declined to sell because our mission is very much tied to our location and is aided by it,” Griffin said. “One of the benefits of having a new building is that we will be here another sixty years. The campus is constantly improving; we want students to come here. We want to build something comparable to what the school is building.”

The near-60 year old building, located down the hill by Old Main pit, facilitates the various functions of the Baptist Student Ministry, including free meals on Wednesdays and various bible-study groups during the week. The BSM also sponsors lectures from touring apologists.

“It really is impossible to guess how many students have been impacted by the ministry in the building, but the answer would have to be very high; the BSM’s roots here are very deep and at times in its history this was one of the top BSMs in the state,” Griffin stated.

Nevertheless, students who frequent the BSM are excited to see a change.

“The condition of the BSM is a little outdated” said bible-study leader Jonathan Cantrell. “Much of the work that we put into the BSM to keep it running is not worth the cost. The building is so old we have to do a lot of up-keep on it.”

“The building is outdated and the space could be better utilized,” said on-campus missionary, Grace Holik.    

The new facility will include one large room, two classrooms with a dividing wall and space to store equipment for Soul Lifters Gospel Choir. It will also have an office space that is separate from the rest of the BSM and will be able to be air-conditioned on its own.

“That will be important in the summer when the students aren’t around but the office staff is,” Griffin said.

The largest logistical problem will come during the six to nine month construction project, during which time the BSM’s staff will likely operate out of one of the local Baptist churches.

Some of the ministry’s most popular events will be held on campus or on church grounds while the building is under construction.

Moving forward, the architects are currently working on a design that will await approval from a local feasibility board. After-which, the board will begin a time of fundraising. Then, construction will begin only after enough money is raised for the project, meaning only the freshman class will be able to use the new BSM, according to Griffin.

“It’s our belief that only through a holistic education will students be trained and equipped for everything that comes at them in life,” Griffin said. “Our building is an extension of that mission, where we provide a place to meet, hangout, and discuss matters of spiritual importance.”

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