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Mercer purchases Baptist Center in Atlanta from Ga. convention

ATLANTA (BP)–Mercer University has purchased the Baptist Center previously owned by the Georgia Baptist Convention and adjacent to the University’s Atlanta campus. Officials from the university and the convention signed papers Aug. 21 transferring the ownership of the 25 acres and five-story facility at a purchase price of $12 million.

As part of the agreement, the convention will remain in the building for up to three years while the convention’s new facility is completed in Gwinnett County. The university will conduct a study on the best future usage of the facility.

“The University’s board of trustees determined the property was an important purchase to maintain the integrity of Mercer’s Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus,” said Mercer University President R. Kirby Godsey.

Mercer’s 300-acre Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta houses six of the university’s 10 schools and colleges: the Southern School of Pharmacy, Stetson School of Business, Tift College of Education, McAfee School of Theology, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing and the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Some 2,200 of Mercer’s 7,300-student enrollment attend classes on the campus, where the primary academic focus is graduate and professional studies.

“We are happy that Mercer acquired the property for its future use and expansion. The sale also provides resources to assist the convention in securing the property and facilities for our future [Gwinnett County] site at Sugarloaf Parkway and Satellite Boulevard,” said J. Robert White, executive director, Georgia Baptist Convention.

The county’s board of commissioners recently approved a rezoning of the property, clearing the way for the convention’s project to begin in early 2004. “This will allow the convention to more effectively serve the needs of our churches in a state-of-the-art facility well into the 21st century,” White said.

The 25 acres on which the Baptist Center stands were originally part of the Atlanta Baptist College campus and were sold to the convention prior to the college’s merger with Mercer in the 1970s. The new purchase gives the university ownership of all of the property inside the circle formed by Mercer University Drive and Flowers Road South.

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