WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–The year is 2010.
A group of students encircle the clear baptismal pool on the west end of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary campus between the Ledford Center and new student center as a professor demonstrates the ordinance of believer’s baptism.
Across campus, students are congregated in an auditorium in the Lewis Adison Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies beside Mackie Hall. Their eyes are fixed on closed-circuit televisions while they receive the latest information on missionary activity around the globe. In another room, students are communicating with missionaries in foreign lands by way of interactive computers.
Back at the new student center, life is abuzz. People are shopping in the Baptist Book Store, visiting the student health center, meeting for group prayer in conference rooms and dining in the 1,000-seat cafeteria/banquet hall.
In the library, students are gathered in study carrels throughout the modern three-story building; meanwhile, hundreds of others comb through the 350,000 volumes of scholarly books on missions, theology and church doctrine.
Enter Binkley Chapel and you hear the sounds of the seminary orchestra echoing throughout the sanctuary from the expanded music department at the rear of the building.
Welcome to the 21st century at Southeastern, Wake Forest, N.C., according to the vision adopted by the seminary’s board of trustees during their annual spring meeting March 10-12.
An architectural firm and Southeastern administrators unveiled their “Preliminary Master Plan” aimed at meeting the operational and educational needs of the school through the next decade. The plan was designed to accommodate the seminary’s continued growth according to projections that put student population between 3,000 and 4,000 over the next five to 10 years. For the near future, student population is expected to reach 2,000 by the turn of the century.
The preliminary plan, which was designed based on input from students, faculty, administration and staff, calls for the renovation of existing buildings as well as the construction of several new buildings, including a learning center for missions and evangelism, library, cafeteria, student center, dormitory, classroom building and music department.
Paige Patterson, Southeastern’s president, said the preliminary plan endorsed by the board of trustees is not some pie-in-the-sky wish list.
“I’m not planning that all of this be accomplished by next year, but I am planning that we get under way with it,” Patterson said. “We’ll be able to go as far with it as God provides the resources for us to do it. If our vision is his vision, then the only mistake we could make is not to pursue it.”
For now, Patterson said, the seminary’s most critical needs remain student housing, faculty offices and classroom space as the school anticipates a student population of 2,000 by the turn of the century. The total non-duplicating head count for the fall and spring semesters of the 1996-97 academic year stands at 1,534 students, trustees learned during their two-and-a-half-day meeting. That number is expected to rise again with new enrollment being added for summer school sessions.
The seminary is continuing to keep pace with its housing demand. Nearly 150 new housing units will be available by fall 1997 as a result of properties purchased and leased by the seminary. Additionally, Southeastern is expected to complete the purchase of a tract of land near campus off Stadium Drive where it plans to build about 70 apartment units by the summer of 1998.
Phase one of the preliminary master plan includes the renovation of Mackie Hall. Formerly the seminary’s student center and bookstore, the 14,500 square-foot building is currently home to the Wake Forest Boys and Girls Club. Under the plan, Mackie will be converted into 34 faculty offices as well as a conference room. The projected cost for renovation is about $865,000.
In other renovations, trustees authorized the spending of up to $140,000 for improvements on Binkley Chapel. Scheduled to begin in May, the renovations include painting and extending the platform closer to the congregation. Binkley Chapel also has been targeted for an addition to house the seminary’s music department.
A state-of-the-art learning center for missions and evangelism has been planned to modernize the seminary’s Lewis Adison Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. The preliminary building program calls for a 16,000-square-foot, two-story building to be constructed beside Mackie Hall. The building would house administrative and staff offices, a resource room equipped with interactive computer stations as well as periodical and reference materials. A 50-seat auditorium with closed-circuit television monitors and audiovisual capabilities would be included. Cost for the project has been estimated at $1.7 million.
“We remain deeply committed to a campus-based education as the only fully adequate way to train missionaries, pastors and evangelists for the 21st century,” Patterson said. “In this regard, we are cutting in a different direction from all of modern theory. We are building a state-of-the-art technological campus with a view to seeing a great revival on the East Coast and shaking our whole world for Christ.”
Phase two includes preliminary plans for building a two-story, 45,200-square-foot student center/welcome center across from Lolley Dorm. The proposed student center would house offices for campus security, a student health center, counseling center, 24-hour study room, Baptist Book Store, student lounge, cafeteria and 1,000-seat banquet hall.
Under phase three, plans call for a 70,000-square-foot, three-story library to be built behind the Ledford Center. The new larger library will allow the seminary to double the seminary’s current number of books and research materials. Construction of a classroom building behind the new student center as well as a dormitory near the new library is planned. Other areas targeted for future seminary housing are located behind the existing physical plant building and across from Mackie Hall. Seminary property currently being used for parking by Wake Forest-Rolesville High School also has been selected as a future site for seminary housing.
In the course of implementing the plan for new construction, some roads will have to be realigned to create more parking and pedestrian walkways.
In other business, trustees approved the establishment of the Johnny Hunt Chair of Church Growth. Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., is a 1983 Southeastern graduate.
Patterson said the chair will be established so only a professor who holds to the inerrancy of Scripture, the absolute Lordship of Christ and the evangelistic and missionary tasks of the pastor and the church may fill that position.
Trustees expressed their appreciation to David and Delaine Carroll, members of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, for their gift of $200,000 in honor of their pastor. When fully funded, the Johnny Hunt Chair of Church Growth will total $1 million in endowed funds for the seminary.
Three trustees whose terms expired this spring were recognized for their contributions during their tenure on the board from 1987-97: Walter R. Lonis of Morrison, Colo.; Wesley Dans of Shreveport, La.; and Cecil D. Rhodes Jr. of Wilson, N.C.
The board of trustees also honored the late W. Gregory Horton of Simpsonville, S.C. Horton, 60, died Feb. 18 at St. Francis Hospital in Greenville, S.C., from complications following surgery for throat cancer on Feb. 17. Horton, who was only the fifth layman to be elected as president of South Carolina Baptist State Convention in 1990, had served on the board of trustees at Southeastern since 1993.
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–The year is 2010.