The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma has issued a $400,000 challenge grant to Texas Baptists to complete the funding for a new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) building on the campus of the University of North Texas (UNT). The building, which will cost $2,000,000 to construct, will be built on the site of the old BSM building.
The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation has been coordinating the fundraising effort. "Added to what Texas Baptists have already given, we need only $100,000 to reach the goal so construction can begin," said Larry Thomas, vice president of the Foundation. "If we can get the additional money soon, we can start building in time to open for the fall 2015 school year."
"We have been very thankful for our current building," said Stephanie Gates, director of the UNT BSM. "As our ministry grows, we want to continue the legacy of BSM by putting a building in place that can stand another 50 years and be a part of God's story on our campus."
The existing 7,200 square foot facility was built in 1960 as a tool to reach the campus community of 6,500 students for Christ. Now, over 50 years later, the student body has reached over 36,000.
"We need a larger building to meet the needs of the larger student body," said Thomas.
The conceptual plan for the new building is approximately 10,000 square feet and will incorporate energy efficiencies to make future operational costs affordable. It will meet the needs of the ministry with a larger gathering area, small group meeting rooms, a recreation area, a media room and an outdoor patio.
The UNT BSM offers weekly free lunch, a variety of Bible studies and ministries, and worship sessions all intended to share the Gospel and encourage spiritual growth amongst the campus community.
With a newly constructed student center opening up just across the street, Thomas said the building is in a prime location for student activity.
"A convenient location leads to a conversation," Gates said, noting that a study revealed around 18,000 students pass by the student center daily, which provides a great opportunity for outreach right outside the front door.
"We are especially appreciative of the Mabee Foundation's challenge," said Thomas. "Their generosity means that the last $100,000 will complete the challenge, secure the Mabee gift and allow construction to begin."
For information on contributing to the final $100,000 for the construction of the new UNT BSM building, call the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation at (214) 828-5343 or visit texasbaptists.org/tbmf.