When Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary built its colonial style building in 2004, the school had about a dozen students. Counting part-timers and distance learners, the school now has around 150 students on its list, of whom 54 are taking courses this semester.
The PRTS building also houses Reformation Heritage Books, a publishing enterprise that continually expands its titles. Increased enrollment and burgeoning business require more staff, all of which translates into a need for more space.
In January of 2012, the Board of RPTS approved a proposal for an addition to the building that could double the school’s current square footage, provided 75% of the approximately $3 million was pledged prior to proceeding.
“We have 82% committed at this point and hope to start as soon as possible,” says Henk Kleyn, Chief Executive Officer.
A group of fundraising volunteers manages a capital campaign that has garnered this support; the biggest boost from one donor of a $1 million matching gift. Another $500,000 is needed for a two-story plan with an additional $500,000 required for a plan with a basement.
Mr. Kleyn explains the two options for which bids are being sought. The two-story plan includes main and upper levels. The main floor would consist of two classrooms, a cafeteria, a book store, six offices, a shipping room, rest rooms, and entry. The upper level will enlarge the library, add eight offices, study rooms, a formal board room, rest rooms, book circulating area, as well as several study offices and group study centers. The basement plan would add a lower level with a couple of classrooms, rest rooms, and a large storage area. The proposed addition will enlarge the IT room and provide storage space for book processing. It will join the east side of the current building with a new parking area in front of the existing structure.
PRTS offers three degress: Master of Arts in Religion (a two-year degree that prepares students for teaching or further study), Master of Divinity (which must be completed in eight years or less), and Master of Theology (which prepares students for teaching or PhD work).
“If the Lord opens the way, we hope to offer doctors degrees in the near future,” says Mr. Kleyn. “Five of our current full-time faculty are qualified to provide PhD level courses.”
Students from around the world are attracted to the school’s Reformed experiential heritage and program. Other contributing factors include Dr. Beeke’s international popularity and a rising interest in Puritan theology, low tuition and a well-funded scholarship program, as well as a holistic view of ministry (head, heart, hands). More international than national students are currently represented in the student body.
Mr. Kleyn says, “God is blessing us with growing opportunities to prepare His servants for sacred ministry around the world.”
For more information about the Seminary or its fundraising campaign, visit the PRTS website: http://puritanseminary.org
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 13 of the April 10, 2013, issue of Christian Renewal.