For the past several years, the Mid-America Reformed Seminary Board of Trustees has given considerable thought to the question whether the seminary’s present location offers the best long-term opportunity for service to the churches. The board studied and vigorously discussed the matter, concluding that an issue of this significance required further research. It has always been Mid-America’s goal to be accountable for our work to the churches and individuals who support, pray for and use the services we provide. Thus. to aid the board in its decision, a survey was mailed in the summer of 1992 to every individual on the seminary’s mailing list, some 1900 names in all. The survey asked seven major questions with space provided for respondents to provide additional written input as they felt appropriate. 455 surveys were returned, representing approximately twenty-five percent of the names on our mailing list.
The returned surveys were carefully read and the responses tallied. Among the questions were three that specifically addressed the question of relocation. The majority (73%) of the respondents indicated that a move to an urban area would enable the seminary to serve more effectively the churches in the work of preparing ministers of the gospel. Additionally, the overwhelming number of surveys indicated that their support for the seminary would be unaffected by such a move. The survey went on to ask which of three possible locations (Chicagoland/Northwest Indiana, Sioux Falls, SD, or our present home) would be most suitable for the longterm development of the seminary. Chicagoland was the clear favorite with 75% of the respondents choosing it as the best future home for Mid-America.
Fortified with this advice, the board again debated the question of location and voted to relocate the seminary to the Chicago area. This decision set in motion an intensive search for a site. Many potential locations were investigated and eliminated, resulting in the selection and recent purchase of thirty acres of land in Dyer, Indiana. The Dyer site meets all of the selection criteria established by the Board of Trustees. Located in the target area, approximately four miles south of Interstate 80 and adjacent to the Illinois/Indiana state line, the Dyer site features easy access to major local, regional and international means of transportation and provides ample room for present development and future expansion. Before the purchase was consummated, the seminary conducted a thorough analysis to assure that the site meets all applicable environmental, municipal and engineering standards necessary for development and construction. These studies proved to be very encouraging and we are quite pleased with the location and excited about the opportunity it affords for the future development of the seminary.
Simultaneous with the land selection and purchase process the seminary has been working to design a site and floor plan for the proposed structure.
Including approximately 15,000 square feet, Phase One will provide all of the elements essential to enable us to serve 80 students with five professors, four staff persons, a library holding 40,000 volumes, an audio visual resource center, conference room, lounge and lunch room, student study areas and a bookstore. The entire facility will be wired for extensive use of audio and video teaching materials and for use of new technologies in these fields as they arise. Need and funding permitting, Phases Two and Three will include the addition of a moderately sized chapel, more classrooms and lecture areas.
The estimated costs for these phases are as follows: Phase One $1,800,000 (includes land acquisition, site development and construction of the Phase One facility) Phase Two $350,000 (Chapel seating approximately 300 persons) Phase Three $250,000 (Additional classrooms)
With a total goal for Phase One of $1,800,000, we are able to report that approximately $275,000 in cash and commitments have been received. Our goal is to break ground during the summer of 1994 and occupy the new facility beginning in August of 1995. Ground-breaking cannot occur until the following conditions for financing Phase One are met: Fifty percent of the funds in cash ($900,000) and thirty-five percent in commitments, payable over three years ($630,000). The remaining portion of the funds may, if necessary, be provided by some short-term financing.