CTS breaks ground for Walther Library expansion

On Tuesday, April 21, 2009, under skies holding back the rain, Concordia Theological Seminary and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod officials ceremonially broke ground for the Walther Library expansion and renovation project. Highlighting Walther Library’s continued role in providing sound academic and theological materials as well as aiding in pastoral formation, LCMS President Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick drew up the first shovel of dirt, followed by seminary President Rev. Dr. Dean O. Wenthe and CTS Director of Library and Information Services Rev. Prof. Robert Roethemeyer.

Flanked by Synod’s Council of Presidents and the seminary Faculty, other participants in the ceremony included: Rev. Dr. William Hoesman, Michigan District President and Chairman of the LCMS Council of Presidents; Rev. Dr. Daniel May, Indiana District President; Mark Hagerman, Hagerman Group Chairman; and James Kratzat, MSKTD & Associates, Inc. President.

Congressman Mark Souder was among local officials and dignitaries attending this joyous occasion. Also in attendance were Vice President of Operations at Hagerman Group, Nate Fink, Vice President of MSKTD & Associates, James Dearing, and project architect Douglas Winicker.

"We are thrilled to have President Kieschnick turn the first shovel of dirt for the expansion of the new library and delighted that after decades of prayer and labor it is now bearing fruit in this wonderful project," said Wenthe.

With over $5.6 million in pledges and gifts raised, the $8 million dollar expansion—scheduled to begin in the summer of 2009—is the first major construction to be done on the library since its inception.

Due to lack of space in the library’s current 15,000 square feet building, various parts of the library’s collections have been stored in other locations on campus. The current library also has insufficient space for students to study and staff to work.

The library expansion will add 45,000 square feet of space to the current building, bringing the seminary’s entire 175,000 volume collection under one roof.

The project also features individual and group study rooms, where seminarians can come into contact with the church’s historical writings. A Pastoral Workshop Room will create space for them to delve into further study of God’s Word while simultaneously cultivating ideas on how to expand their own personal libraries. A Rare Book and Archive Room will house the seminary’s unique collection of ancient texts. Community members will be able to utilize age-appropriate materials found in the Children and Family Life Room. Finally, an electronic classroom will serve as instructional and retreat space.

"After many years of patient, prayerful planning, we are delighted to have a concept for the expansion of the library that excites our donors, surpasses our programmatic dreams, honors our Saarinen village, and provides a shovel-ready, value engineered project as we seek to hold up a bright future in the midst of these dark times," commented Roethemeyer.

With all of its resources consolidated under one roof, Walther Library will serve students of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in allowing them access to rare texts, scholarly material, and space for students, staff, and the Fort Wayne community as a whole to grow in God’s Word, fulfilling the seminary’s mission to "teach the faithful, reach the lost, and care for all."