The Conference Board of Trustees, with endorsement from Bishop Paul Leeland and the WNCC Cabinet, will be proposing to the Western North Carolina Annual Conference the construction of a new conference office building, with construction beginning this year.
Bob Wilhoit, chair of the Board of Trustees, said, "With this new conference center proposal, the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church is on the threshold of a new chapter in its distinguished history."
The proposal will be brought before the 2017 Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska in June. The proposed timing for the report of the Board of Trustees is during the afternoon session on Friday, June 23rd. In the coming months, more information about the proposal will be shared with the clergy and lay members of the Annual Conference.
Over the past eighteen months, the Board of Trustees investigated numerous options, including both owning and leasing properties, to replace the current facility located at Shamrock Drive in Charlotte.
After a total of nine different locations were explored, the Trustees propose that the new location be located in the West Torrence Professional Center on Professional Center Drive in Huntersville, North Carolina. This location is beside the United Methodist Foundation offices in the same community.
The proximity to the three major interstates in western North Carolina (I-77, I-85 and within 30 miles, I-40) and the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, as well as being outside of the Charlotte city limits was deemed most desirable.
The new structure will be a 2 story building of approximately 29,000 square feet. One floor will be devoted to housing the offices of Ministerial Services, Treasury Services, the Episcopacy, Missional Engagement and Connectional Relationships, Information Technology, the Metro District office, and multiple size conference rooms and media space. The other floor may be leased to enterprises, with attention to organizations that do not conflict with the mission and purpose of The United Methodist Church and the Annual Conference.
"Building a Conference Office Center is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We want to offer the annual conference an edifice that will be representative of what is the best of our connection at an economical cost that will serve our mission and ministries for generations," commented Dr. R. Mark King, Conference Treasurer.
Bishop Paul Leeland reflected on the proposal, "This year our Annual Conference will respond to and vote on the Conference Board of Trustees recommendation to relocate and build a new conference center. This can be a positive moment in which our Western North Carolina Conference adapts to the changing conditions that have led them to make this recommendation. May the wisdom of the Annual Conference allow us to prepare for the coming decades of ministry in the same way that we have been positioned to address the needs for ministry over the last four decades in our current location."
After Easter, the Board of Trustees will be providing further information about this proposal to members of the Annual Conference. This will include specifics about the need of a new facility, expected costs, and other details that were considered in this proposal.