Dear Alumni, Alumnae, and Friends of PLTS,
I’m writing to you with very important news in the life of the seminary.
For decades, and particularly over the past 10 years, there have been formal and informal conversations about whether or not the current PLTS location best serves the preparation of leaders in this time of changes within the church and the world. Out of this mission imperative, and with the support of the PLTS Advisory Board, the University has been seeking out alternative locations. The Board of Regents has now made a decision to relocate PLTS to downtown Berkeley starting in fall of 2017.
Circumstances and mission are leading us to be closer to our Graduate Theological Union partners, closer to social and civic life, closer to public transportation (the property is on the same block as the downtown BART station) – to become not only in but also of Berkeley. City Hall is a stone’s throw away, likewise Berkeley High School, the extensive YMCA, theaters, museums, social agencies and a variety of quality and affordable restaurants. It is a 15-minute walk to the center of the GTU and blocks away from the University of California Berkeley campus.
The property being pursued is on the second floor of 2000 Center Street. It is a four-story building on the corner of Center Street and Milvia Avenue, and is also occupied by the Berkeley City College and the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business’s Center for Executive Education. We are currently negotiating the terms of the lease as it relates to renovation of the space. We understand that the chances of reaching full agreement are very good.
Our current location at the top of the hill is beautiful and has served us in many ways. The initial pioneering actions of Revs. Ross Hidy and Quentin Garman brought this property into the Lutheran church, and several generations of future church leaders have called it home. Leaving this place, with both its beautiful and its mundane buildings, its inspiring views, its profoundly embedded memories, will not be easy.
We should be able to take possession of the new space in January of 2017. At that point, we will begin to make it our own, moving functions and classes as is appropriate and desirable, until we fully relocate next summer. At that point, the property at 2770 Marin will be subject to sale. All proceeds of the sale will form a PLTS endowment to support the future life of the seminary.
We are letting you know this news now so that if you would like, you can make plans for a final visit during the year. Come and stay in a Beasom dorm room to reminisce and dream and say goodbye, while being part of community life. We will also be holding special liturgies and gatherings that honor the first 67 years of the Berkeley seminary while asking blessings on its next stage.
As you can tell, we are at the very front of this process of relocation. There will be many issues to consider, countless details to work out, much grief to work through, numerous problems to solve and exciting opportunities to explore.
I understand that this letter will not address all possible questions about our probable move. I invite you to contact me as you wish. Once some more of your questions and concerns become clear, I will write a follow-up FAQ document.
Leaping in faith,
Rev. Brian Stein-Webber
Interim Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Seminary Relations
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