Southern Baptist Seminary to update campus

LOUISVILLE — Officials at Southern Baptist Seminary plan to revitalize the aging Louisville campus with renovations and upgrades over the next decade.

Seminary President Albert Mohler told The Courier-Journal that the plan approved by trustees includes updates to structures that are nearly 90 years old.

Seminary officials said it would be the "most significant revitalization" since the school moved to the location in 1926.

Mohler said the aim of the project is that "this majestic campus is perpetuated so that the seminary can accomplish its mission."

The cost of the project is estimated at $52 million, though the final tally could vary because some areas will have a new purpose after renovations. Work at the seminary, which estimates that it has around 4,000 students, is expected to begin in August.

"There are some very significant issues that need to be addressed," Mohler said.

The seminary said upgrades and renovations to housing, classrooms and administrative offices would be included in the first phase of the project. Plans include turning some historic buildings known as the Mullins Complex into a new home for Boyce College, its undergraduate program. The W.O. Carver Building, where Boyce College is currently based, will be outfitted for administration offices, classrooms and housing.

Renovations that include technological improvements at the James P. Boyce Centennial Library will be included in the second phase of work.

Although the seminary has expanded online and remote-learning programs, Mohler said that doesn't lessen the need to renovate the physical campus.

"We are committed to a classroom model," he said.

The seminary plans to take out a $20 million loan for the project, which will need approval from the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, Mohler said. The rest will be paid for with capital maintenance funds.

Founded in 1859 in South Carolina, the seminary moved to downtown Louisville in 1877 before relocating to its current campus.