CBC moves into new academic building

Faculty and staff at Central Baptist College were still unpacking boxes but the move to the new David Watkins Academic Building is complete.

CBC President Terry Kimbrow said the move went well last week and even quicker than what was planned. “It went very smoothly, better than I expected.” The evening before the move, CBC held an informal time of prayer and dedication with faculty and staff.

Sancy Faulk, vice president for advancement, said staff prayed in each of the rooms as they went through the building. For some, it was their first opportunity to see the new building.

Registration began this week in the 38,000-square-foot, three-story building, which is the new home for approximately 50 CBC employees. Freshmen began arriving on Monday on campus and returning students are expected Wednesday.

The building bears the name of David T. Watkins, who recently retired as senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Magnolia after 23 years of service.

The naming of the building came as a result of a lead contribution to the Vision 2020: A Miracle in the Making campaign made by Max and Debbie Story, longtime members of First Baptist and close friends of Watkins.

The ground floor of the building houses offices that directly serve students in addition to administrative offices. The Bible and Missions departments are on the second floor along with a 100-plus seat lecture hall, conference rooms and classrooms. The third floor is dedicated exclusively to classrooms.

Student Orientation Staff (SOS) members were “Loving LIFE” while helping freshmen move into the dorm.

Vision 2020 is a plan to complete 10 major construction projects in 10 years to accommodate a student enrollment of 2020. A 10-year master plan completed by Sowell Architects of Conway is guiding the projected expansion. The new academic building is the first major project in the plan.

Workers have already emptied the library and the area which previously housed the administration offices in preparation for renovation, the next major project. Work on the new library is expected to begin next month, with an anticipated completion in August 2013.

Fundraising efforts are continuing, with $8.7 million of the $12 million raised, according to Kimbrow. “The Conway community has been very generous to us,” he said, noting that $850,000 has been raised locally. The goal is $1.5 million.

A few spaces for naming opportunities are still available in the new building.

CBC will host an open house and dedication at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14, for the new building. A short program is planned at 10 o’clock, with self-guided tours and lunch provided.

“We do plan to make it pretty special,” Kimbrow said. Faulk added, “It will be a time of appreciation and thanks for everyone involved.”