The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) board of directors voted unanimously to sell the Battle House, the former Baptist campus ministry property at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, to Carolina Christian Study Center (CCSC) for $1.55 million.
The sale means the historic property that served as a base for Baptist Student Union (BSU) ministry at UNC-Chapel Hill for 50 years will continue to provide a Christian witness and serve the university community.
The vote came Wednesday, May 20 based on a recommendation by the BSC’s business services special committee during their full board meeting at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro.
Proceeds from the sale will be placed into a special account that will be used exclusively for furthering the collegiate partnerships ministry. The BSC will receive an initial down payment of 10 percent of the purchase price, which equals $155,000. The balance of the purchase price will be paid to the convention over a five-year period.
Terms of the purchase agreement stipulate that the Battle House must be used for Christian ministry purposes. Additional provisions designate that ownership of the property would revert back to BSC in the event that CCSC dissolves. Should the center ever choose to sell the Battle House, BSC must be given the first opportunity to repurchase the property.
Additionally, BSC will have the authority to appoint a representative to CCSC’s board of directors.
BSC Executive Director-Treasurer Milton Hollifield said the center “is committed to engaging the academic community with the gospel,” and complements the convention’s approach to collegiate ministry.
“We’re excited to see this as a great complement to our new strategy for collegiate ministry that focuses on assisting churches to impact lostness among one of the largest unreached people groups in North Carolina, which is college students,” Hollifield said.
Hollifield said CCSC will be modeled after the L’Abri communities, founded by the late Christian theologian, philosopher and apologist Francis Schaeffer and his wife, Edith, in Switzerland in the 1950s. L’Abri communities still exist in many places around the world and serve as a place where individuals can gather to ask questions and seek answers about the claims of Christianity and the impact it should have on one’s life.
Named for former UNC-Chapel Hill president Kemp P. Battle, the Battle House was originally purchased by BSC in 1964 for $102,500. The property, which is adjacent to the university’s main campus and located in the historic district of Chapel Hill, has undergone significant renovations and improvements while serving as a base for Baptist campus ministry at the university for 50 years.
CCSC first approached BSC leadership about purchasing the Battle House in early 2014, several months after the convention implemented its new approach to collegiate ministry.
The BSC board of directors has previously voted to sell or transfer ownerships of other campus ministry properties owned by the convention. Properties at East Carolina University and UNC-Asheville were both sold during the past year, and the property at UNC-Pembroke was transferred to the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association.
Hollifield praised the work of the business services special committee, the convention’s board and BSC leadership for their work over the past year in determining the best use of the Battle House property. Hollifield added that he is thankful and encouraged that CCSC will continue to use the Battle House as place for ministry.
“Some of our former Baptist students at UNC-Chapel Hill who had been active in our BSU work felt this would be a great and very beneficial ministry for that campus,” Hollifield said.