On August 26, 2016, the State Board of Missions of the Florida Baptist Convention voted to transfer ownership of the Blue Springs Baptist Conference Center in Marianna to The Baptist College of Florida (BCF). The college, originally located in Lakeland in 1943, has been in Graceville since 1953; and the conference center was built in Marianna in 1982. According to Thomas A. Kinchen, President of The Baptist College of Florida, the acquisition of the ninety acre Blue Springs property will represent the largest single expansion in the history of the school. Since 1990, the college’s Graceville property has increased from 150 to 250 acres.
The Blue Springs Conference Center was closed by the Florida Baptist Convention in the Fall of 2014, but the property has been maintained in operating condition since that time. “I have been amazed at the condition of the facility,” stated Kinchen. “Since it had been closed for several months, I expected it to need a great deal of work before it could be utilized. The staff has done a wonderful job in keeping this special place in great condition.” According to the agreement between the convention and the college, the closing and transfer of ownership will take place on or about October 1, 2016.
While many of the details of the future operation of the property are being finalized, President Kinchen noted that the facility will be integrated into the overall campus and program of the college. He stated that, “This will provide us with a wonderful space for laboratory experiences in ministry preparation as we offer training as well as services to our churches. There is no substitute for ‘hands on’ experience in preparation for missions and ministry in its varied forms. Our college currently offers twenty-one undergraduate degrees and two graduate offerings. All of these programs will be impacted by this new campus. In addition to our regular degree programs, we plan to offer facilities and programs for camps and conferences for area churches and other Christian groups. I cannot overstate my personal excitement and that of The Baptist College of Florida family as we begin this new era. We look forward to being good neighbors in the Marianna community.”
For more information on the new Blue Springs Campus or the degree programs offered at The Baptist College of Florida, please call 800.328.2660 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.