Board undecided on move to California
Votes to go,then postpones; approves sale of Baptist Building
OSAGE BEACH – The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Board voted Oct, 29, 28-22, to build a new headquarters in California, Mo., then voted in executive session to postpone any action so that members could study the proposal further.
The matter is sure to dominate the Dec. 10-11 board meeting at the Baptist Building in Jefferson City.
“I’m convinced that this (building in California) is what we need to do,” Interim Executive Director David Tolliver told the Board after the tally was announced. “I don’t want to do it on a 28-22 vote; so we could still consider California at a later date.”
In an earlier action, the board, without opposition, voted to sale the Baptist Building to a Springfield company for a maximum sale price of $1.7 million and to appropriate up to $200,000 from the convention’s reserve fund to conduct a space needs study and hire an architect to begin design of a new building.
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 proposed 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.
Members of the Executive Board received packets with details about the California offer Oct. 5, but it became clear that many board members still had questions, some doubts, about the deal.
The convention will have to raise money for the new building once the Executive Board determines where it will be. An internal study by the MBC 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 East High St., is 70,000 square feet, although only about 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 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.
Jody 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 now a virtual certainty, but the exact sale price is based on contingencies being met.
In addition to Shelenhamer, the Sale/Relocation Committee includes: State Rep. Rachel Bringer, laity, ; David Krueger, pastor, First Baptist Church, Linn; Mike Stockton, laity, St. Clair; Bob Ingold, an attorney, Second Baptist Church, Springfield; Fern Miller, laity, Pisgah Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs.