The Central Texas Conference Service Center is On the Move

by Dr. Randy Wild* and Vance Morton**
After years of studies and meetings and reports and recommendations and location surveys and votes and discussions and…the Central Texas Conference Service Center Relocation Task Force is finally one vote away from being ready to make its official recommendation to Annual Conference as to where to move the Service Center.
“Huh? What? We’re moving the Service Center, when did that happen?” If that is your first reaction to the paragraph above, it is quite understandable as this has been a move in the works for the last several years. As such, we thought that before the task force announces its recommendation in the next few days, it might be a good idea to refresh your memory as to all that has transpired to get us here.
The origination of this action can be traced back to the fall of 2007. Now that may not seem like all that long ago, but to put in context, in 2007, only the most bleeding-edge technophiles with money to burn possessed an iPhone. As the conference made preparations to host the 2008 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, it was decided to give the conference offices in downtown Fort Worth a $50,000 facelift in expectations of hosting many extra meetings and dignitaries during General Conference. The offices were originally purchased for the conference in October 1987.
During the pre-General Conference spruce up, several not-so cosmetic issues with the building were discovered. Issues like…
  • a faulty roof and lack of sufficient drainage;
  • an antiquated and deteriorating HVAC (heating and air conditioning) system;
  • inadequate electrical systems; and
  • non-compliance with the American Disability Act.
In response to these findings, the Central Texas Conference Board of Trustees commissioned an architectural and design firm to analyze the situation and recommend all available and responsible options for the building. In December of 2009, the firm presented the following five options to the trustees (see a pdf of the original report here):
  1. Add a second floor to the existing building ($6,000,000*);
  2. Expand horizontally across the city alley ($2,820,197*);
  3. Demolish existing building and rebuild on current location ($4,975,503*);
  4. Update and repair existing building ($2,062,989*);
  5. Relocate ($?,???,???*).
*indicates the estimated cost of each option in 2009 dollars. The U.S. has an annual inflation rate average of 6.9 percent since 2009, though it is not certain that applies to question marks.
After studying these findings and figuring in the need for an increased and more efficient workspace for the conference staff, the trustees recommended to the 2010 Annual Conference that relocation was the best option for the conference. That recommendation was voted on and approved by the 2010 Annual Conference. Later that year, when the Exodus Project was officially sanctioned during the called special session of the Annual Conference in November 2010, the Central Texas Conference Service Center Relocation Task Force officially began its work to determine the new location of the Service Center. A task that has been quite the wilderness journey of its own – a journey best chronicled once the task force announces its final recommendation in the next few days.
As soon as we learn of the official recommendation, we’ll share it with you here. The resolution will also be available in the addendums to 2012 Preliminary Report, which are scheduled to be released before the District Conference meetings are called to order beginning next week.
*Randy is the Executive Director for the CTC Center for Mission Support and the Conference Secretary and Benefits officer.
**Vance is the Director of Communications & IT for the Central Texas Conference.