Dear Friend of Welch College,
I am writing this letter to ask you to pray earnestly about the relocation of Welch College. As you know, in October Welch and Nashville-based Aquinas College signed a formal letter of intent for the sale of Welch’s West End campus. We remain in formal negotiations regarding the campus purchase and sale. We have now reached a pivotal moment in the relocation process, and we are calling on our constituents to stand with us in prayer during this most critical phase.
The main reason for the delay in signing a contract is a request Aquinas made to the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals regarding a definitive answer on whether or not the campus is zoned for future use as a higher education institution after we sell it. This request resulted in a letter from that Board indicating that they believe the Welch campus can be used as a college by a future owner.
However, the Board of Zoning Appeals stated that the college needed to file an amended parking plan because of some of the properties that had been sold since the last parking plan was accepted in 1977. We have done this, having appealed for as many parking places as we think we can accommodate.
Recently an article in Nashville’s daily newspaper, the Tennessean, stated that the college “wouldn’t be able to continue to operate” if the parking issue was not resolved. This unfortunate wording is misleading and inaccurate. In a conversation with a member of the Welch Administration, the Zoning Board Director stated that the college can continue to operate a campus at its current location even in the unlikely event that the Zoning Board Hearing is not successful. The outcome of the pending zoning appeal will in no way jeopardize the continued operation of the college on the West End campus. The Zoning Board Director is very optimistic about the likely acceptance of the parking plan.
Please pray for Welch College as we move forward with this process. Many of you remember the difficulties the college faced more than 12 years ago during contract negotiations with Watkins College of Art and Design. That institution decided not to pursue the purchase of the campus because of zoning issues raised by the neighborhood association. Similar issues have arisen in this case, and we are asking our friends to pray that Aquinas will not become discouraged during this phase of the process.
Please pray also for our Welch College Board and Administration. They have a long history of wise, careful decision-making. They are fully aware of all of the developments in the pending sale of the property and are exercising all due diligence in the entire relocation process.
The Tennessean article is evidence that Welch College continues to pursue relocation to our 66-acre site in Gallatin. The Relocation Task Force anticipated delays in finalizing the sale of the campus, so this is no surprise to college administration or Board members.
This brings me to my last prayer request: Please pray for patience! Sometimes we’re tempted to grow impatient because things are not moving according to our own timetable. Please pray that we will be patient, dependent on the Lord, and willing to wait on Him and His timetable in relocation.
There is a wonderful spirit on the campus of Welch College. With a nearly 24% increase in dorm enrollment over last year, there is an excitement that is palpable. Despite a downturn in giving in December and January, we are still appealing to God’s people for a wonderful Ketteman Student Scholarship offering on or after February 23 so that we can finish our fiscal year, ending May 31, in the black.
I deeply appreciate your continued support and prayers for Welch College as we pursue every avenue for the marketing and sale of the West End Avenue campus, and as we remain faithful to our 72-year mission to educate leaders to serve Christ, His Church, and His world through biblical thought and life.