By Robert Dilday
Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond will move this summer to a new location in an office complex about four miles north of its current campus, seminary officials announced April 2.
The nearly 17,000-square-foot building in Villa Park, near the intersection of Brook and Parham roads and about a half mile from Interstate 95, is being refurbished to provide classrooms, offices, a study area and a student lounge. Renovations will be completed in time for the fall semester.
“A diligent search has led us to a property uniquely suited for BTSR’s commitment to theological education in the 21st century,” Bert Browning, a Richmond pastor who chairs the seminary’s relocation committee, said in a press release. “The new site will allow the seminary flexibility and a fresh setting in which to engage a new generation of students. It will give BTSR a platform like no other seminary for fulfilling its mission.”
The relocation will complete a process begun in March 2011, when trustees approved the sale of the seminary’s campus and eventual move, both to broaden BTSR’s mission and to achieve financial stability. The 21-year-old school has been at its current location since 1997, when it bought buildings originally owned by the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, across the street from Union Theological Seminary.
The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, which has leased space on BTSR’s campus, will join the seminary at its new site. “The Hymn Society has enjoyed being a part of the BTSR community over the past three years and we look forward to continuing our partnership in a new location with space designed especially for our needs,” said executive director Deborah Carlton Loftis.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia, which maintains offices on the current campus, has been considering relocation options but has not yet announced plans. CBFVA field coordinator Rob Fox said in January he was exploring space at churches in the Richmond area.