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First Baptist Church Dallas Launches $130 Million Capital Building Campaign:

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2009-11-02 06:03:46     
First Baptist Church Dallas

The congregation of First Baptist Church Dallas today overwhelmingly affirmed recommended plans to proceed with a $130 million capital campaign to build an expansive new 1.5 million square foot, state-of-the-art campus, making it the largest church building program in modern history, according to church fundraising experts.

"First Baptist's building program is not an end in itself, it is a means to an end to better minister to and meet the needs of the community," said Dr. Robert Jeffress, Pastor. "Now more than ever, our church is firmly committed to spreading the message of God's love to transform lives and our City."

In two special services this morning, Dr. Jeffress informed the congregation that already more than $62 million has been committed to this campaign. Mark Lovvorn, chair of the church's Planning and Development Committee, further noted that the economic downturn has led to unprecedented potential savings in construction costs, citing research showing that for every dollar spent the church will receive up to $1.30 in value.

The announcement culminates a wave of downtown revitalization, including the opening last month of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts and ongoing construction of the Dallas Convention Center Hotel and Trinity River Project. The new First Baptist campus will enable the church to enhance its ministry to Dallas while completing the circle of resources meeting the mind, body and spirit needs of downtown residents.

"For more than 140 years, God has put First Baptist Church at the center of Dallas, the nation's fastest-growing city in the heart of America," Dr. Jeffress continued. "Jerry Jones recently unveiled a new $1.2 billion 'temple to sport.' In these tough economic times, why can't we use our gifts to build a church building that provides a spiritual oasis and matches the splendor and majesty of God?"

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, a member of the congregation and champion for the revitalization of downtown, gave the offertory prayer at the later service. At a press conference following he noted this project will not only benefit church members, but will benefit everyone in the community, by providing an open and inviting atmosphere and additional parking.

"This is a critical and important investment in downtown Dallas," Mayor Leppert said. "It will have an impact on this community and what we're trying to accomplish of creating more of an urban setting that is vibrant and exciting and brings people downtown. This is going to be exciting effort, not only in terms of Sunday but all the other different activities and what it will to contribute."

The proposed plan, designed by innovative Dallas-based architect firm, The Beck Group, will physically change the landscape of the Dallas skyline, galvanizing a clear presence of the church at the center of the city. The campus, which will be certified by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System, will include a newly built 3,000-seat worship center, providing an intimate setting including the latest in audio-visual technology.

Senior adult education space will be below the worship center along with 300-parking spaces, which will provide easy access for the older generation. Across from the worship center and connected by a sweeping glass concourse, will be an expansive six-floor education building for the preschool, children and youth ministries; including play areas, two side-by-side gymnasiums and an outdoor patio. An adjacent, enclosed parking structure with 500-plus spaces will provide convenient drop-off for young families.

At the heart of the new campus will be a fountain plaza complete with gathering places that will add one acre of new green gathering places, and an oval pool with a stone water tower topped with a cross at its center. The church's historic steeple, taken down in the 1960s because of safety concerns and then installed in the Criswell Center multipurpose facility in 2006, will be restored to its original height. The current sanctuary, which dates to 1890, will be retained as a site for weddings, funerals and other special events. The Truett Building and the Veal Garage, inadequate to meet today's needs will be torn down to make way for these new structures.

"Through the years, our campus has been built in stages, resulting in a hodge-podge of buildings," Dr. Jeffress said, noting the design priority to combine state-of-the-art facilities with the church's legendary past. "Some of these, while representing significant history and memories, are worn down and deteriorating. This new plan will help to maintain the historic elements of our campus, including the original sanctuary, while establishing new, energy efficient buildings that can become a part of Dallas' future for generations to come."

As a part of the next steps, First Baptist will ask its members to make a three-year commitment, above and beyond their regular contributions, to the building program, with the total committed being announced on May 16, 2010. If all goes according to plan, construction will start in the fall of 2010 and be completed debt-free in 2013.

Specialized in: Baptist Church Dallas - Building - Campaign
URL: http://www.firstdallas.org
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