The entrance to the Christian Theological Seminary, which will turn into the home for Butler’s College of Education. The move will take effect next school year. Collegian file photo.
SORELL GROW | ASST. NEWS EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
Renovations at Christian Theological Seminary, the new site for Butler’s College of Education, are officially underway.
The construction at the site began in January and is on schedule to be completed by the end of July.
COE’s move to the CTS campus was officially announced by President James Danko in June 2017.
According to its website, CTS is a fully accredited graduate school related to the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, that offers graduate-level degree programs rooted in biblical scholarship, theological openness and spiritual discernment.
Although Butler now owns the CTS main campus building, located on West 42nd Street next to the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house, CTS will operate normally as an institution in the building as it did before the property was purchased.
Colin Moore, Butler’s project manager for planning, design and construction, explained how the building will be shared between CTS and COE.
“One of the big things with purchasing the property is they [CTS] didn’t have the utilization of the building that would allow them to fully use it,” Moore said. “They’re at maybe 50 percent occupancy, so we’re better utilizing the building now by bringing COE over and they are still able to operate with the exact same number of employees in really just a smaller and more confined space. In the whole thing, we have to work together.”
The two institutions will have several specifically designated classrooms. There will also be a few shared classrooms that Butler, as the new owner of the building, has priority over.
“I’m not sure it’s been that challenging, it’s just different than any other project we’ve done on this campus,” Moore said. “This is a completely different, unique experience where we’re buying, and then they’re still occupying the building, so we’re leasing back to them and working together in the same building.”
Once renovated, there will be more than 7,000 square feet of classroom space for COE classes. Part of the renovations includes combining smaller classrooms to create larger and more functional rooms.
CTS has about 125 students and COE has about 350 undergraduate students and 150 graduate students.
The construction on CTS faculty offices started in January and is scheduled to finish in March. Renovations on the new COE classrooms, faculty and dean’s offices will begin in March and are scheduled to be completed by the end of July so the facility will be ready for students come August.
“It’s really been a learning curve for the facilities department, and every department really, because now they have to come together as one,” Moore said. “We’re almost integrating as one team, but still separate entities.”
A new feature of the building will be shared faculty offices. Unlike their individual offices in Jordan Hall, COE faculty will share offices in pairs, as well as have “huddle rooms” for collaborating and meetings.
The building was constructed in 1965, when the majority of students attending CTS were male, so there are very few women’s restrooms. The renovation will add more women’s restrooms to accommodate the large percentage of female education students. Every bathroom on the CTS campus will be updated to be accessible as well.
The distance between the chapel to the auditorium, the two furthest points on CTS’s campus, spans about a quarter mile. In the middle of CTS’s square-shaped main building is a large outdoor field.
Angela Lupton, assistant COE dean, looks forward to the changes that will come from moving to CTS.
“When I think about the environment and the classrooms that are going to be over there, they’re going to much more flexible, interactive and welcoming for students, and that’s really exciting,” Lupton said. “It’s not that people aren’t trying, it’s not that people aren’t doing this, but sometimes desks lined up in rows in front of a dry erase board is not necessarily the most engaging way to build community in a classroom.”
Maggie Risley, a sophomore elementary education major, will be able to take education classes on the CTS campus during her last two years at Butler.
“I’m most excited about having more space because I know before in Jordan we did not have much, and now we’re being given the opportunity to spread out,” Risley said. “I think it’d be cool for the element
ary education majors and the Reggio Emilia, kind of a nature-based style of teaching, because there’s a really cool courtyard in the middle of CTS and I think that can be utilized really well so I’m excited for that.”
Part of the renovation includes a Brick by Brick campaign, which is lead by COE Dean Ena Shelley. The campaign was first announced at homecoming this year to COE and Butler alumni.
COE will sell bricks that will be engraved to anyone in the greater Butler community who wants to honor an educator that has touched their lives in any way. The bricks will be part of the outdoor paths and patios at CTS.
In November, Shelley wrote in her monthly COE newsletter, “As we create our own ‘brick by brick’ story, we will be paving the way to a new future for the College of Education by understanding and honoring our past, but looking to a future that is filled with hope and opportunity; renewed with the understanding that education is the foundation to a strong and healthy society where all its members can thrive.”
Lupton said that she was “really, really pleased” with the enthusiasm and interest she has seen from alumni and other friends of the college about the campaign.
COE will connect the campaign with Butler’s national Day of Giving on Feb. 28.
“This is a project that the COE is doing, but it’s not just the COE,” Lupton said. “We want it to feel like it’s very inclusive of everyone on campus and we want people to feel very welcome to purchase bricks to honor anybody in the Butler community or anybody who’s been an educator.”
Risley said that she would buy a brick in honor of her fourth grade teacher who was “very real about being a teacher.”
Lupton estimated about 100 bricks have already been purchased. She said she expects a surge of purchases to be made between now and the April 15 deadline.
“We didn’t want to put a cap on it because we want, frankly, even for folks who aren’t in our college to feel like this was a really great way to be part of the larger Butler campus,” Lupton said. “So it’s not limited to just COE alums or grads or honorees.”
The renovated building is expected to be ready to house education classes in August 2018.