CTS and Butler FAQs
Why did CTS seek an agreement with Butler?
CTS is always looking for ways to engage in better stewardship of its assets for the sake of providing the best theological education possible. While we have always appreciated the architecture and other artistic qualities of our facilities, our buildings are now 40-50 years of age and maintenance had become an increasing part of the Seminary budget. The question had to be asked, “As beautiful as our facilities and campus are, is the maintenance, even of an architectural gem, within the primary mission of a theological seminary?” That led to the next question, “Who else could appreciate and maintain these facilities?”
The obvious answer was “Butler University”. They were seeking excellent space for their College of Education and to enlarge their campus. We had been talking about leasing space to Butler for some time, but when they suggested purchasing and leasing space back to CTS for at least 100 years, it seemed a good way forward for both institutions.
Higher education institutions everywhere, including seminaries, are confronting a significant array of challenges and opportunities today. The CTS Board of Trustees, always proactively seeking ways to ensure that our school can thrive into the future, determined that this was the time to take steps to assure the future of CTS for generations to come while maintaining our independence and identity.
What does this mean for the future of CTS?
This agreement has strengthened CTS by creating a major stream of revenue we can invest directly into the core of our mission. All seminaries face financial and missional challenges, and this agreement helps CTS meet them. With a $125 million endowment and a debt free balance sheet, CTS is strong – and this agreement allows us to remain strong for decades to come. By the terms of the lease, CTS has the right to remain here for at least 100 years, but we can also move any time after seven years. We also have retained ownership of about 5 acres on the west end of the property in case there is a need to build again.
What other seminaries have done the same thing?
Across the country, seminaries have sought various options to address future challenges. For example, United Seminary in Minneapolis recently sold its campus and is moving near University of Minnesota, Fuller Seminary in Pasadena has sold its property and will be building a “leaner” campus 27 miles from its current location to help insure its future. There are many more examples of such decisions being made.
CTS has the advantage of gaining from the sale of its building, rightsizing its footprint, and continuing to operate in the same quarters as before.
Is this a merger? Will Butler take over operations of CTS?
No. While the two schools collaborate on some operational functions for the sake of efficiency, CTS continues to be independent in governance, finance, and day to day work. CTS continues to be a graduate school of theological education and our graduates will continue to receive degrees from CTS.
What has the impact been on the main building and the CTS environment?
The sale has resulted in significant remodeling and upgrading of facilities in both the College of Education portion of the building and the CTS portion. Butler has provided new, larger, ADA compliant restrooms throughout the building. Both CTS and Butler have upgraded their classrooms, eliminating the steps down into classrooms, installing new carpet, fixtures, and upgraded technology. CTS administrative offices have been remodeled and more helpfully grouped.
What parts of the building and grounds continue to be available for CTS use?
The long-term lease (at least 100 years) provides space for CTS in about half (56,000 square feet) of the main building, all of the Counseling Center, and access to both the student apartments and the Hospitality House. There are three kinds of space designated in the building under our agreement:
- Specifically CTS space: our classrooms (the west half of the classroom wing), the library, faculty offices on the second level (the west half), and administrative space.
- Shared Space: the Common Room, the Café, the large classrooms near “Town Square”, and the patio/terrace.
- Space that is reservable: the auditorium, the chapel, (it is reserved for every Wednesday and will remain a Christian chapel).
About 5 acres on the west end of the campus (facing Michigan Road) was not sold and continues to belong to CTS for future possibilities.
What about parking?
So far, we have found there is adequate parking (the east lot near the chapel is unreserved on Wednesdays at 11:30 am for those who wish to attend chapel). We are still working out how to provide space for visitors beyond the spaces available on the Fountain entrance. While permits are required of both CTS and Butler students, staff and faculty, we take comfort in the regular safety patrols provided by Butler campus police.
How does the building “feel” with both Butler and CTS in it?
Well, we occupy different parts of the building (east and west) so we don’t have very much contact with each other. But, when we do encounter one another, we have found the Butler folks to be very pleasant and compatible. We enjoy having young people with smiling faces and youthful idealism in our midst!
There’s plenty of room and we have found CTS and Butler to be very good neighbors. Together we bring a positive energy and presence to a building in which we often felt we were sort of “rattling around”. It has turned out very well for both parties.
Where did the proceeds from the sale go?
About 1.8 million went to remodeling and re-equipping done by CTS and other costs. 18.2 million went into CTS endowment.
Why does CTS still need money?
All higher education is very expensive to provide, including seminary. We all have an obligation to make seminary as affordable as possible in order to prevent students from accumulating debt in their preparation for ministry. Students already make many sacrifices to attend and many come to seminary already bearing large debt from undergraduate studies. Also, of course, ministers and counselors are not known for making large sums of money in their lines of work. Thus, it is incumbent upon seminaries to keep tuition as low as possible and to provide as much financial aid as possible. This makes gifts to the annual fund, gifts to scholarship funds, and other forms of giving extremely important. Gifts also make it possible to expand educational programs and other institutional resources.