Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – Learning Center

Louisville, Kentucky

Quick Facts: 

Client: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Market: Academic

Size: 110,000 gsf

Services: Architecture, Interiors

The master plan of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary included the expansion and relocation of Boyce College, the seminary’s undergraduate feeder program, into the main fabric of the Seminary’s main campus designed by James Gamble Rogers. As part of the relocation and improvement of the facilities for the undergraduate college, the existing library was targeted as the location of the new Learning Center for the College.

Centennial Library was originally constructed in 1959 and today houses approximately over one million items in various collections. But like most institutions, the library is no longer the most efficient location to store its collections, and student learning methods have shifted dramatically in the digital age.

In support of this new era of learning, the Learning Center was created as a new paradigm of buildings for the seminary. By relocating its collection into a remote centralized storage facility shared by other regional academic institutions, not only did this solution permanently preserve and protect the collection, it also dramatically increased the size of the offerings to students by combining their resources with other institutions. A book can be requested at the Seminary and delivered within 24 hours.

The now empty building created a great opportunity to provide new programs on campus. The final design includes a campus café, world class newsstand, main reading room, computer center and print shop just to name a few of the programs. But the real jewel in the new learning center is a multi-media presentation center to help facilitate teaching new media techniques and skills of film, video, audio, radio and web presentations. The top floor of the learning center is the teacher-student exchange where both visiting faculty and graduate-level students would share space and ideas.