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Space Planning Update


At the end of last week, we held three community meetings for faculty and staff to provide an update on current projects related to space planning for Bethel’s St. Paul campus, including 3900 Bethel Drive, the Seminary building, and Anderson Center. (Watch a recording of the community meeting.) We also gave students an opportunity to view the proposed floor plans for Business and Economics and the 5th level of the Anderson Center.

Where we’ve been

Strategic Plan

A few years ago, a group of trustees, faculty, and administrators met to develop a Strategic Plan for Bethel. The result of that work helped us to focus on things that will move Bethel forward and guided the next version of the Campus Master Plan, which was updated after Bethel acquired the Anderson Center. 


Last year, we began to plan for the next comprehensive campaign. The advancement team conducted a feasibility study for the campaign and based on that data, we decided we could designate $40 million of the total $150 million goal to go toward new capital projects. The breakdown for the $40 million capital projects is: 
  • $29 million for sciences (including approximately $4 million for remodeled space and moves for arts and humanities)
  • $4 million for business and economics (including remodeling and moves for several administrative offices)
  • $3 million for College of Adult & Professional Studies, Seminary, and Graduate School programs
  • $3 million for athletics
  • $1 million for innovation in learning spaces
Space Planning Groups
We then put together a coordinating committee to oversee the planning for these various projects. In August 2016 the coordinating committee launched a group of faculty and administrators to work on a plan for science space. Together with BWBR Architects, the sciences group has developed a plan that includes renovations and new space. We also launched a group to work on moving four offices currently at 3900 to the 5th level of Anderson Center, including information technology services (ITS), marketing and communications, business office, and human resources. Next, we launched a group to plan for the business and economics department’s new space on the 3rd level of the Robertson Center (RC3). Most recently, we put together a group to begin working on a vision and space plan for departments within the arts and humanities.

Where we’re going

The current plan for the sciences is to add a new building between the Academic Center (AC) and Brushaber Commons (BC) in the space that is currently the president’s parking lot. We will also expand the sciences footprint in the AC building for physics and engineering, biological sciences, chemistry, psychology, and mathematics and computer science. We have received a commitment of $500,000 in donations to renovate space for engineering and remodel our physics space this summer. Since all of these projects will be donor funded, we will wait to begin any additional work on the sciences space until the necessary funds are raised.

Business and Economics (College of Arts & Sciences)
Plans for the new business and economics space on RC3 have been drafted and we hope to have the department in its new space in fall 2018. However, timelines are dependent on fundraising. We do not intend to use operational funds for these capital projects or to take out loans to cover expenses. 

Marketing and Communications, ITS, Business Office, Human Resources, CAS Admissions, Financial Aid

In order to make room for business and economics to move to RC3, we need to relocate several offices to spaces in the Anderson Center and at 3900.

About $1.5 million has been raised and was used to build out space on the 5th level of the Anderson Center for the business office, marketing and communications, and ITS. A working group with members of these teams partnered with BWBR and our facilities colleagues to create the plan for their new space. The three offices are scheduled to move in June. After additional funds have been raised, human resources will move to the Anderson Center and financial aid and CAS admissions will move to new locations.  

Arts and Humanities
After the arts and humanities working group has drafted a vision for the arts and humanities space, BWBR will work with them on their space planning process.

How we’ll get there 

Throughout this process, we have worked to involve the appropriate groups at the appropriate times in the planning process. The working groups have drafted a vision for their areas and the architects and our own facilities management staff members have taken those visions and collaborated with the working groups to put them into space designs. This collaborative process will continue as we next work on the arts and humanities space and Bethel Seminary St. Paul space at Anderson Center. We will continue to bring updates to our community as the planning moves forward. It’s exciting to see the generous donation of funds that are making this work possible and we’re grateful for the significant work being done by so many of our community members to improve the student experience at Bethel. 

Deb Harless, executive vice president and provost
Joe LaLuzerne, senior vice president for strategic planning and operational effectiveness 

On behalf of the Space Planning Coordinating Committee – Annette Abel, Beth Anderson, Katie Bonawitz, Pat Brooke, David Clark, Paul Ferris, Deb Harless, Joe LaLuzerne, Mike Lindsey, Mark Miles, Mark Posner, Wayne Roosa, Deb Sullivan-Trainor, and William Washington