SAN ANTONIO – Baptist University of the Américas (BUA) students will enjoy a modern campus when they move into one building that provides more square footage and up-to-date facilities for Fall 2016.
The 68-year-old university on the Southside that educates Hispanic ministers from 23 countries is relocating its entire campus operations and personnel this summer.
The university is moving from the eight outdated buildings to a medical office building built in 2006 that has been unused due to foreclosure.
BUA has been on its campus at I-35 South and Palo Alto Road since 1965 and has launched a fundraising campaign to raise millions for new facilities on land it owns across from the current campus, which currently has student housing on it. That campaign has not reached its goal.
But BUA President René Maciel says God had plans for the future of BUA. BUA Trustee Chairman Van Christian noted, "The cost of upgrading the current campus eats up precious dollars that could go toward a new campus."
As the university seeks more donors and friends for the I-35 campus, Maciel said God placed a newer building with more square footage, more parking spaces, and new furniture, computers and phones within walking distance of the current campus.
"God is still leading us. We are on this journey just like the children of Israel, remaining faithful through the journey to discover His purpose and will for us," Maciel told the staff. "He has provided this new home in His way and in His timing."
BUA officials, with trustee approval, have purchased a medical office building that is at 7838 Barlite Boulevard across from South San Antonio High School. The building was in foreclosure and has been vacant except for one physician's office for four years.
"It's almost too good to be true that God would lay something like this in our lap," Maciel said. School officials considered leasing space at several other sites before approaching the bank that owns the medical building.
The building has more than 42,000 square feet, and officials estimate they could serve 400-500 students. They plan to stay in the facility for 7-10 years as they gradually raise funds for construction on the 80 acres gradually.
The office building will require some modifications and some medical equipment will be sold. It is two stories with an elevator. Some offices are set up but have never been used. It also has space that can be expanded for classrooms, a library and a chapel.
"It's a turning point in our history. God has great things in store for BUA," Maciel said. "We won't even have to change the sign on the highway to get to us."
"Many donors who had pledged significant funds toward the Baugh Family campus have agreed to re-direct that money toward the new building," said Teo Cisneros, vice president for development.
The future campus will be built in smaller "bites," Maciel said, and donors are excited about that because it relieves the pressure of having to build an entire campus at once.
Trustees have approved putting the Changing Our World Campaign on hold while launching a three-year, $5 million capital campaign, "A New Journey," to purchase and remodel the Barlite building.
Baptist University of the Américas, located at 8019 S. Pan Am Expressway in San Antonio, provides post-secondary education for students from all over the world. Students can earn certificates and college degrees not only to enter the formal ministry in churches but also to minister while serving in their secular careers. More information is available at www.bua.edu.
The author, Rhoda Ortiz Vance, serves as Community Relations Director for BUA.