Butler closes on purchase of seminary buildings, 40 acres of land

Christian Theological Seminary has completed the sale of its buildings and 40 acres of land to neighboring Butler University on the city's north side.

The schools said Wednesday that the deal will result in Butler’s College of Education moving into the main CTS building at 1000 W. 42nd St. beginning with the 2018-19 school year. CTS will have a long-term lease with Butler to remain on its current campus and in part of the main building, and it will also continue to own a parcel of land on the far west side of the property on Michigan Road.

Butler President James Danko said in a media statement that “this partnership helps advance the vision of both institutions." The schools first announced their agreement in June after two years of discussions.

“This purchase supports the growth and momentum of Butler 2020, providing our University with new physical space for potential development as we seek to further enhance the Butler academic experience,” Danko said.

The schools declined to release the financial terms of the deal. The total assessed value for the four parcels of land and improvements on them belonging to Christian Theological Seminary (including the parcel that it is keeping) is $27.6 million, according to a database from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.

CTS Interim President Bill Kincaid said the agreement “represents an opportunity to ensure the mission of CTS will continue for many generations to come.”

“Put simply, this is a bold move that enables CTS to be a good steward of our physical and financial resources for the benefit of preparing transformative leaders for the church and community,” Kincaid said in the release.

Butler will renovate the main building after Jan. 1. It will build a new teaching and learning lab.

“This space is absolutely perfect,” said Ena Shelley, dean of the College of Education. “It will give our whole university the chance to rethink and reimagine teaching and learning across the entire campus, not just COE. This is a game-changer when it comes to innovation, teaching, and learning.”

IBJ previously reported that Butler planned to purchase the seminary’s main building, the counseling center, 36 student apartments and its Hospitality House—and the land they sit on.

CTS, founded in 1855, has been struggling with decreasing enrollment. Its spring enrollment was 167, compared with 210 in 2011—a 27 percent drop.

Butler’s enrollment has gone in the other direction. From 2007 to 2017, enrollment grew nearly 21 percent. It was 5,148 this fall.

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