Instead of owning and maintaining a campus of over 45,000 sq. ft. of interior space and 9 acres of land, Central’s Board of Directors has directed the administration to find a suitable space, estimated at approximately 8,000-9,000 sq. ft.
The new seminary campus will be located in the Kansas City metropolitan area, continuing the tradition of Central’s being headquartered in the state of Kansas since 1901.
Our new campus space will include multiple classrooms outfitted with cutting-edge technology, office space for staff and faculty, several meeting rooms, a gathering area, and a small print library. While the print collection will be reduced, most books and journals along with thousands of other resources will be available on the Digital Theological Library, which current students now use almost exclusively. Students, no matter where they live or study, have immediate access to more than 1.5 million books, 104 million articles, 61,000 journals, and 174 databases.
No. Central is stronger than ever. This proactive decision made by the Board of Directors is intended to right-size our physical footprint. Our current space in Shawnee is much larger than what we now need. Given that more than 90% of our students attend class remotely, our current physical classrooms often sit empty, and this underuse of the Shawnee building will increase over time. Relocating to a more appropriately sized space is both financially and ecologically responsible.
No. Some in-person classes are being held and will continue to be held on the Shawnee campus and the new campus as well as at the other Central sites. Central is simply right-sizing its physical administrative location. We will have a building that is more efficient and versatile, allowing for increased staff, faculty, and student collaboration. In addition, our local international students, counseling students, and Doctor of Ministry cohorts will continue to gather for periodic in-person classes and intensives.
Central exercised due diligence for more than a year, exploring various possibilities. Options explored included identifying partners, including other non-profits, educational institutions, and churches, for space sharing of the Shawnee building. After consulting with commercial real estate professionals, we concluded that finding a viable tenant with which to share space would be exceedingly difficult, and finding a tenant who could lease at the market rate without serious retrofitting of the building would be next to impossible. Leasing our space would also require Central to continue carrying the financial responsibility and liability as landlord and would have necessitated the added costs of hiring property management personnel. Seeking a partner with whom to share space, we concluded, would detract financial resources from students, faculty, and programming. Relocating allows Central to remain laser focused on the mission.
No. We will relocate campus headquarters in accordance with the regulations of both of our accrediting bodies (the Higher Learning Commission and the Association of Theological Schools) as well as all federal and state governmental agencies.
The legacy of their gifts will live on. Our current space was built with the generous gifts of so many supporters, partners, and alumni of Central. While we will not be in the space their gifts originally helped construct, the proceeds from the sale of the space will be used in strengthening operations and growing our endowment.