GS 1998 art 87

GS 1998 Article 87Theological College: Expansion

Committee IV presents

Agenda Items: I.B.1, I.B.4, II.KK, II.ZZ, IV.K, IV.U, IV.V, IV.Z


  • A. Proposal from the Board of Governors of the Theological College with respect to the expansion of the College Facilities.
  • B. Letters from the Canadian Reformed Churches at Burlington-South, Watford, Burlington-East, Lincoln, Taber, Orangeville and Elora.


  • A. The matter of the expansion of the College facilities was placed before Synod Abbotsford 1995. Section IV, I. states:
    • “To direct the Board of Governors to study and prepare a more detailed and definite proposal for the expansion of the College facilities, and seek the possibility of financing this project without increasing the assessment to the churches. A proposal should be submitted to the churches and the next Synod at least six months before the next Synod.”
  • B. The Board of governors appointed a committee “to further consider and develop a comprehensive plan and proposal for the expansion of the Theological College.”
  • C. The committee was advised by the Senate, faculty, and staff that the library is the primary impetus for the expansion.
  • D. The committee met in 1996 to review the mandate given by Synod Abbotsford 1995 and the direction of the Board of Governors. The library and library technicians were requested and instructed to undertake a ‘needs assessment’ for the library and to seek input from other professional librarians, to formulate any other needs of the college, and determine by way of available statistics and other current resources what the library’s needs will be in the next 20 years.
  • E. The architect who was consulted was able to demonstrate that it was more cost effective and easier to construct a building specifically for the library than to spread its functions throughout the building and to remodel the building to accommodate those library functions. After extensive discussion with the architect, it was decided that a two-floor plan would best suit the library’s needs and would be better situated on the property.
  • F. The recommended plan includes 6702 feet of ‘additional’ space. Of this space, 6250 square feet are devoted to the library and the remaining 452 square feet are comprised of washrooms and an elevator which complies with the current building accessibility requirements.
  • G. The recommendation of Synod Abbotsford 1995 included “… and seek the possibility of financing this project without increasing the assessment to the churches.” One of the considerations, under Article 97 section III.D states: “… This proposal should indicate how this project can be financed from sources and means other than the regular assessment so that it does not necessarily burden the churches…”
  • H. It is expected that the construction period would be approximately six to eight months. Target construction commencement is the summer (September) 1999.
  • I. The project is expected to cost $ 680,160.00. By the end of fiscal 1997 (December 31) the college will have approximately $193,000 set aside and appropriated for the expansion. Conservatively it appears that the Women’s Savings Action will be able to contribute $75,000 for the expansion. This means that additional funds of approximately $500,000 must be raised.
  • J. It is proposed that the college obtain commitments of at least 80% of the funds required before construction may commence. The remaining 20% of funding may include private borrowing at preferred or low rates from members of the church federation. The Board requests permission to make its own funding arrangements for the remaining 20% if required.
  • K. The Fellowship Canadian Reformed Church at Burlington suggests that General Synod, via the Board of Governors, revisit the proposal with the intention of scaling it down in view of the financial obligations presently in our communities.
  • L. The Grace Canadian Reformed Church at Watford feels that the cost is somewhat prohibitive for their small church. They ask General Synod to keep this in mind when determining the final cost.
  • M. The Canadian Reformed Church at Elora encourages General Synod to accept the recommendations of the Board of Governors.
  • N. The Ebenezer Canadian Reformed Church at Burlington suggests that construction be postponed until 80% of the funds are collected.
  • O. The Canadian Reformed Church at Lincoln reminds us of the decision of General Synod Abbotsford 1995 mentioned in observation G above and that at least 80% of the money should be collected prior to start-up.
  • P. The Taber Canadian Reformed Church suggests that the proposal is “a well- considered and suitable one” and offers its full endorsement.


  • A. The plan as presented has been well received in the churches.
  • B. Several churches have questioned whether we can commence building when money is promised to us, but when it has not yet been received. We trust that our people honour their pledges and therefore we find this stipulation unnecessary. We trust the Board of Governors to use their own discretion on this matter.
  • C. Concerns have been expressed with respect to the annual assessments being raised. The committee emphatically states that “the regular college assessment must not and will not be increased as the result of the expansion.” Over the last few years the college has been able to set aside $41,000 of accrued surpluses which will be dedicated to the expansion plan. The assessment has remained at $63 per communicant member since January 1 1995.
  • D. Implementation of this proposal will necessarily encounter many unforeseen circumstances and the Board must have the authority to modify the plan and its implementation provided that such modification or alteration is not materially or substantially different than the recommended plan.


Synod decide:

  • A. To thank the Board of Governors and its expansion committee for the thoroughness of their presentation.
  • B. To instruct the Board of Governors to proceed with the ‘Recommended Plan’ on the basis as set out in this report as soon as they have received 80% of the funds required.