MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP) – A proposal to relocate the Alabama State Board of Missions offices will be placed before messengers at the Alabama Baptist State Convention’s Nov. 15–16 annual meeting in Montgomery.
The proposal would involve an “exchange of keys” with Baptist Health, which operates hospitals and other medical facilities in central Alabama.
If approved by messengers in November, SBOM ministry offices and staff would relocate — without any indebtedness – to a new facility by Jan. 1, 2018, built to SBOM specifications by Baptist Health near Interstate 65’s exit 181 on the northeast side of Prattville, a city of 35,000 people. Just under four acres of land would be included with the new construction.
Building will be 18 miles from current location
The site of the new building will be 18 miles from the current Baptist Building in south Montgomery.
Trustees of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions voted unanimously for the proposal during an Aug. 12 meeting in Montgomery. The Baptist Health board also approved the proposal after several weeks of meetings to develop details, said Bobby DuBois, SBOM chief financial officer and associate executive director.
Under the plan, the State Board of Missions would essentially exchange keys with Baptist Health, which would take ownership of the SBOM facility adjacent to Baptist Medical Center South.
SBOM Executive Director Rick Lance said the new site will “position missions personnel and resources closer to the geographic center of the state. This would provide more accessibility for Alabama Baptists to utilize their State Board of Missions facility as a Great Commission Ministries Resource Center.” Nearby, just off I-65’s exit 186, the Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief facility serves as a storage and staging area for training, equipment, vehicles and other resources.
State Board of Missions will remain debt-free
DuBois said the exchange of keys and property “would happen so that no funds are exchanged. Since 2008 the SBOM has been debt-free and is committed to remaining as such for the future.”
The size of the new SBOM building would be 39,900 square feet versus the present Baptist Building’s 87,500 square feet. A new facility likely will have fewer maintenance issues and lower utility costs, DuBois added.
The facility will be “in line with the right-sizing of our staff that has been underway since the arrival in 1998 of Dr. Lance as our executive director,” DuBois said. “After Dr. Lance joined the staff, our full-time employee count was 121. Today we have 67 full-time employees.”
DuBois also noted that the value of the proposed building and acreage is in line with the appraised $7.6 million value of the current Baptist Building, which opened in 1962 with a major addition completed in 1998.
SBOM leaders have been reviewing ways to move the Baptist Building to the Prattville area for nearly a decade. State convention messengers approved the first steps toward that end in 2007, and several ideas have been considered through the years.
If the proposal is approved by messengers, construction of the new SBOM facility would begin by Nov. 30. The convention’s Nov. 15-16 meeting will be held at Eastmont Baptist Church in Montgomery.