Convention relocation vote coming
JEFFERSON CITY – A recommendation to move the Missouri Baptist Convention headquarters to California, Mo., will be considered by the MBC Executive Board when it meets Oct. 29 at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach.
The board will also consider a recommendation to sell the Baptist Building to a Springfield-based company for a maximum sale price of $1.7 million.
The recommendations come with the unanimous approval of the convention’s ad hoc Sale/Relocation Committee and the MBC Executive Board’s administrative committee, which approved the plans Oct. 4. The decision to sell the current headquarters and relocate comes after an internal study showed that the structure is in need of approximately $7 million worth of renovation and that, long term it would be more cost efficient to build a new headquarters building.
“The Baptist Building is a great, strong, solid building, but it just takes some updating and some financial resources to update it to be a more modern type of building,” said Jody Shelenhamer, chairman of the Sale/Relocation Committee. “And, if we’re going to spend that kind of money, we thought – after the analysis came in – that we would just like to build a new one.”
The move to California became a possibility after Kenny Vaughan of Vaughn Construction Company of California, offered to donate six acres on Highway 50 about one mile east of the city.
“This donation of land is accepted with the understanding that the Convention headquarters will be moved to the new location as soon as possible,” the recommendation states. “The committee further recommends that the Executive Board approve the relocation of the MBC headquarters to the donated land in Moniteau County (California, Mo.) with the understanding that this relocation will require the construction of a new MBC headquarters facility on the Highway 50 property.”
Members of the MBC Executive Board received packets with details on both deals Oct. 5.
Design work for the new building has not begun and the convention will have to raise money for the construction if the board approves the recommendations. However the convention’s internal study of the Jefferson City offices recommended that a new building of about 45,000 square feet would be needed. The current facility, located at 400 E. High St., is 70,000 square feet, although 55,000 square feet are in use. Formerly known as the Missouri Hotel, the MBC acquired and remodeled the structure in 1969.
Messengers voted at the MBC’s 2003 annual meeting to authorize the Executive Board to sell the Baptist Building and look for a new location. The 2003 motion restricted the Sales/Relocation’s search to mid-Missouri. A new motion was made and approved by messengers at the 2004 annual meeting that allowed the committee to expand their search to statewide.
The Jefferson City headquarters is also home to The Missouri Baptist Foundation and the Missouri Baptist Credit Union. The Foundation signed a 20-year lease in 1998. Both organizations will have the option of moving to California with the convention. If they decline, their leases will be terminated.
The proposed donation of six acres to the MBC is part of a 238-acre commercial and residential development planned by Vaughan, who is a member of First Baptist Church, California. Some 40 residential lots are being developed. The proposed donated property has 600 feet of highway frontage on the south side of Highway 50 and 425 feet running south parallel to Windmill Ridge Drive, a dirt road that will soon be concreted. City water, electric, natural gas and sewer are in place. The value of the six acres is estimated at between $500,000 and $600,000.
Shelenhamer said a key ingredient that led to recommending the California site was the completion of Highway 50. It is anticipated that project – to straighten and expand the highway from two-lanes to four between Jefferson City and California – will be completed in late 2008 or early 2009.
“I don’t know that it would have been as appealing without that four-lane highway,” he said. It is 22 miles from Jefferson City to California.
The Sale/Relocation Committee looked at several options around the state, including two from Jefferson City before recommending the California site.
Indeed, just days after the California proposal was made public, a Jefferson City citizen contacted Tolliver, offering to donate land on the west side of the city if the convention would stay. Tolliver has shared the information with the Executive Board, which will likely consider the California offer before considering other options.
Tolliver said the convention will move even if the sale of the Jefferson City facility were to fall through. The sale of the Baptist Building is a virtual certainty, but the exact sale price is based on contingencies being met
If the Executive Board approves the recommendations Oct. 29, a video has been prepared detailing the deals and will be shown at the annual meeting.
In addition to Shelenhamer, the Sale/Relocation Committee includes: State Rep. Rachel Bringer, laity, Little Union Baptist Church; David Krueger, pastor, First Baptist Church, Linn; Mike Stockton, laity, a former member of First Baptist Church, St. Clair; Bob Ingold, laity, Second Baptist Church, Springfield; Fern Miller, laity, Pisgah Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs.