Shandon Baptist Church is planning to build a more than 5,000-square-foot college ministries center near Five Points.
The church received design approval from Columbia’s Design/Development Review Commission on Thursday to go forward with the project, which is planned for the parcels at 2127 and 2131 Devine St., next to Bank of America and across from Jake’s Bar and Grill.
The church has planned for the center to be ready when the University of South Carolina starts fall classes in 2016, said Brandon Petersen, Shandon Baptist’s executive pastor and minister of education.
Petersen said the church was not yet ready to disclose the project’s cost. Richland County tax records show Shandon Baptist purchased the two lots in July for more than $1.1 million.
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The center’s design, which calls for a one-story building with a brick and glass facade, had received a favorable recommendation from city staff with a few minor conditions, such as the development of a lighting plan for the site.
Petersen said Shandon Baptist’s college ministry has been leasing an estimated 2,000-square-foot space at 631 Harden St. in Five Points since October 2012 but that “we have outgrown that space.” Before that, the ministry had a space on Greene Street.
Keeping the college ministry near USC’s campus, and not at Shandon Baptist’s main campus near Forest Acres, is convenient for the roughly 200 students who actively participate, Petersen said.
“Its primary purpose will be for the college ministry, small group ministry, tailgating parties – the kind of thing the college ministry does,” Petersen said.
David Taylor, the church’s college minister, said the new center would be an ideal setting for the ministry’s worship services, Thursday night coffee houses, Sunday morning breakfasts and more.
“We’re providing an environment where students can work on homework and grow in their friendships with one another and build community,” Taylor said.
Keeping the ministry in Five Points is another plus, Taylor said. “We’ve fallen in love with Five Points. We’re happy. We’re excited.”
OTHER COLLEGE MINISTRIES
Shandon Baptist isn’t the first church to reach out to downtown Columbia’s college crowd with a new facility.
First Presbyterian Church earlier this year paid $4.1 million for the former SCE&G building on Marion Street with plans to turn the three-story building into a college center.
And First Baptist Church plans to remodel the YMCA building on downtown’s Sumter Street for its congregation’s students. That project will cost the church roughly $6 million, including the cost of buying the building, said Steve Barden, the church’s administrator.