Fort Wayne may help Concordia Theological Seminary stretch its dollars as it quadruples the size of its library.
The seminary has asked the Fort Wayne Economic Development Commission to issue $5 million in economic development revenue bonds for the seminary to help finance a 48,000-square-foot addition to Walther Library.
Elissa McGauley, an economic development specialist with the city, said that if Fort Wayne issues the bonds, the interest rate probably will be lower or the repayment period longer.
A bond issued through the city would not cover the cost of the expansion; the entire expansion, including furniture, fixtures and other equipment, will cost about $12 million, said Robert Roethemeyer, Concordia's director of library and information services. Roethemeyer said work started on the expansion in September 2009; when it will be finished depends on the seminary's success in fundraising.
Roethemeyer said the building would be walled in before Thanksgiving, and he thinks interior work in half the addition will be finished in late winter or spring. University officials haven't decided whether to dedicate the expansion in May or September next year. In any case, he said, he's sure that at least half the addition will be in use when classes start in fall 2011.
The most obvious difference for students, faculty and staff when the enlarged library opens will be that all the library's materials will be under one roof. Roethemeyer said that will be a first since Concordia moved to 6600 N. Clinton St. in 1976.
“There will be an array of different study options for students,” he said. Even if limited funding allows the school to use only half the addition at first, that will include five group-study rooms. When the addition is finished, 15 group-study rooms will be available, he said.
Another important difference in the expanded library will be the atmosphere. “There will be 500 linear feet of glass overlooking our lake,” Roethemeyer said. It will be a very quiet area for reading, writing or reflection, he said – a change from the confines of the current 15,000-square-foot facility.
The economic development commission will consider Concordia's request at its Oct. 21 meeting. According to documents filed with the city, the library expansion will create two jobs when it opens and four new jobs within three years.