Seminary Wants to Build on Community Relations

Article excerpt

Byline: Deborah Kadin Daily Herald Correspondent

Northern Baptist Seminary was in a quandary.

The religious institution, based in Lombard since the 1960s, needed to accommodate a growing number of students who wanted to be trained as pastors, counselors and missionaries.

But the school, affiliated with the American Baptist Churches in the USA, was uncertain whether it should move or stay.

After months of careful deliberations, the board of trustees decided in October 1992 that the economic investment in their campus, situated near the Yorktown Shopping Center, was significant: They opted to remain.

Trustees then began looking ahead toward the seminary's future. The school should be remodeled and a conference center should be added.

Folded in was how they wanted to fit in with the community at large.

"There were signs that there were buildings here. We're tucked away and not easily recognizable. We wanted space to allow for the activities that academic institutions require. But we wanted to be a part of the community in ways we had never been before," said Ian Campbell, the seminary's president.

Trustees in the fall of 1993 embarked on a $12 million capital campaign, the New Seminary for a New Century campaign, to bring new life to campus.

A part of the campaign that will create a prominent presence on the entire campus will be the Robert and Carl Lindner Conference Center.

When it is completed and dedicated next spring, the $3.3 million center, which will be visible from Butterfield Road, will have an important role in renovating the campus. …