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Bethel Seminary to Move to Anderson Center

A complete renovation is underway to create a pastoral space that serves modern seminary students well while also bringing them closer to Bethel’s other adult programs and services.

By Monique Kleinhuizen ’08, G’16, New Media Strategist

September 05, 2018 | Noon

The main entrance of Bethel Seminary will incorporate natural elements like tile, wood, and glass, consistent with the pastoral feel of the current seminary complex. A digital display and dedicated signage will provide a sense of place to community members and visitors.

Since 1965, Bethel Seminary has been located in a lakeside, pastoral setting on the north end of Bethel’s Arden Hills campus. The campus was designed with residential seminarians in mind, complete with family housing and a playground. But over the last few decades, the number of seminarians who re-locate their families to complete a full-time, on-campus degree has dwindled to almost none. Today’s seminarians take advantage of completely online programs, and even traditional programs are often completed in the evening, part-time over several years, or mostly online with occasional intensive sessions on campus.

In 2013, God provided for Bethel’s growth through the remarkable purchase of the Anderson Center, located about a mile from Bethel’s main campus, on Pine Tree Drive in Arden Hills. It has since become home to Bethel’s adult undergraduate and graduate programs; their admissions, student success, and support teams; the offices of advancement, business, information technology, marketing, and human resources; and Converge North Central, the local staff of Bethel’s affiliated denomination. Frequent campus shuttles and staffing make it an increasingly fluid extension of Bethel’s main campus. A number of external tenants also occupy about 30 percent of the 200,000-square-foot building.

The first floor of Anderson Center will be the new home of Bethel Seminary, with a classy, dedicated entrance to the wing providing a sense of place to the seminary community. Iconic seminary artifacts like the Larson-Bethel Baghdad Torah, stained glass windows from the original seminary buildings on Snelling Avenue, and artwork will be installed in the new space. Oversized windows overlooking the pond and miles of walking trails offer a pastoral feel, similar to what has been enjoyed at the Lake Valentine location for years.

“It’ll feel like a new version of the historic seminary,” says Mike Lindsey, Associate Director of Planning and Projects. “We want to honor its history and bring some of its best elements to this new location while also being mindful of current trends in adult education and looking toward the future.”

Glenn Hofer, director of facilities technical operations, adds that the design team has intentionally selected tile, glass, and wood materials to echo the mid-century modern feel of the current seminary buildings. But high-efficiency modern air handlers, technology-ready networking, and wheelchair-accessible spaces and elevators will provide what the current seminary complex lacks. A state-of-the-art video conferencing room will also allow more frequent and higher-quality communication between the St. Paul and San Diego seminary communities.

Faculty and staff offices, flexible collaboration spaces, and a public prayer room will be consistent with other new Bethel spaces, including Anderson Center Level 5, which was featured on the Minneapolis-St.Paul Business Journal’s list of “cool offices.” “But it’s still going to feel a lot like the seminary,” Hofer adds.

Other near-term plans include adding a light-filled chapel—set off from the back of the building by glass corridors, also reminiscent of the seminary—that will enhance spiritual community onsite and give students a high-tech platform from which to practice their preaching. With a view of majestic pines and serene water features, the chapel will encourage worship, prayer, and fellowship for the growing number of adult students, staff, and faculty who work and study at the Anderson Center.

“Bethel Seminary has always had a vision for ‘beyond.’ Following God’s leading, the seminary has established a reputation for innovation in seminary education while preserving the principles upon which it was founded,” President Jay Barnes wrote in an announcement to the Bethel community in May. “All the while, Bethel Seminary has reached beyond its walls to serve churches and ministry agencies, and beyond that, the world.”

“Wherever its location, Bethel Seminary continues to embrace a living orthodoxy that engages the world’s most challenging concerns, for God’s glory and our neighbors’ good.”

— President Jay Barnes

Seminary staff and faculty will move into their completely renovated space in time for the spring 2019 semester. Summer 2019 will bring about renovations at the current seminary complex to make space for undergraduate departments there. Opportunities exist to support these projects financially; for information, contact the Office of Development.

A brief history of Bethel Seminary

A brief history of Bethel Seminary

Bethel Seminary

In recent years, Bethel Seminary leaders have re-imagined the seminary experience to become more convenient, with five degree programs now offered entirely online. It’s more affordable, with a new dual-degree program allowing students to complete both college and seminary in five years, saving students an estimated $7,425 and two years of coursework. It’s also supported by more resources, thanks to a generous donor family who provided Bethel Seminary students with a free license to a premier Bible software product.

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