Texas Baptists consider sale of headquarters building in Dallas

Baylor University’s governing board will vote May 15 on a proposal to purchase the facility.

By Ken Camp

Baylor University’s board of regents and the Baptist General Convention of Texas executive board will consider a proposal for the university to buy the Baptist Building in Dallas.

Baylor regents will vote on the matter at their May 15 meeting. Pending approval, the BGCT board’s administrative support committee will consider a detailed proposal May 19, and Executive Director David Hardage will present the proposed recommendation to the full board that evening.

Texas Baptist BuildingDetails of the proposal will not be released until May 19, after the Baylor regents have met and information has been provided to the BGCT administrative support committee.

The BGCT office building is located adjacent to the Baylor Health Care System’s flagship campus, east of downtown Dallas.

Last year, Baylor University approached the BGCT executive board staff leaders about buying the Baptist Building to house Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing. The nursing school’s building on the Baptist Health Care System campus was at capacity, and several faculty members already used office space at the Baptist Building.

Messengers to the 2013 BGCT annual meeting in San Antonio granted the convention’s executive board and an ad hoc committee authority to consider the sale of the Baptist Building.

At the executive board’s February meeting, Hardage reported he received a “multifaceted” proposal from Baylor University concerning the possible purchase of the Baptist Building and expected to bring a full report to the board’s May meeting.

Texas Baptists constructed the office building in 1988 on land leased from Baylor Health Care System. The executive board used proceeds from the sale of property in downtown Dallas, combined with trust funds, to pay for construction.

Ten years later, the health care system’s board of directors voted to give the land, valued at $2.5 million, to the executive board. Baylor Health Care System has first right of refusal on any sale of the building, but Joel Allison, the health system’s chief executive officer, gave verbal approval to the proposed sale to Baylor last year. Though once operated by the university, the health care system has been governed autonomously since the late 1990s.

The executive board has not yet publicly indicated where its staff would be housed if the building is sold.