The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., issued a $400,000 challenge grant to Texas Baptists to complete funding for a new Baptist Student Ministry building on the University of North Texas campus. The facility, which will cost $2 million to construct, will be built on the site of the old BSM building.
“Added to what Texas Baptists have already given, we need only $100,000 to reach the goal so construction can begin,” said Larry Thomas, vice president of the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation, which is coordinating the fund-raising effort. “If we can get the additional money soon, we can start building in time to open for the fall 2015 school year.”
Stephanie Gates, BSM director at UNT, expressed thanks for the current facility and what it has meant for more than five decades.
“As our ministry grows, we want to continue the legacy of BSM by putting a building in place that can stand another 50 years and be a part of God’s story on our campus,” Gates said.
The existing 7,200-square-foot facility was built in 1960 as a tool to reach a campus community of 6,500 students for Christ. More than 50 years later, the student body has surpassed 36,000.
“We need a larger building to meet the needs of the larger student body,” Thomas said.
The conceptual plan for the new building is about 10,000 square feet and will incorporate energy efficiencies to make operational costs affordable. It will meet the needs of the ministry with a larger gathering area, small-group meeting rooms, a recreation area, a media room and an outdoor patio.
With a newly constructed student center opening across the street, Thomas said, the BSM building is in a prime location for student activity.
“A convenient location leads to a conversation,” Gates said, noting a study revealed about 18,000 students pass by the student center daily, which provides a great opportunity for outreach right outside the front door.
“We are especially appreciative of the Mabee Foundation’s challenge,” Thomas said. “Their generosity means that the last $100,000 will complete the challenge, secure the Mabee gift and allow construction to begin.”
For information on contributing to the building project, call the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation at (214) 828-5343 or visit texasbaptists.org/tbmf.