Archived Sections, National Lutheran News

Trinity Lutheran College ready to relocate

Once known as Lutheran Bible Institute of Seattle, the small school needs a new home

“We are looking for an environment that is more lively, more eclectic and more diverse,” says Dr. John Stamm, president of Trinity Lutheran College, Issaquah, Washington. On June 1, 2006, Trinity’s board of directors unanimously adopted a “resolution to proceed with due diligence” in preliminary plans to relocate in Lynnwood, also in the Seattle area.
Members of Trinity Lutheran Church, Lynnwood (ELCA), approved a companion resolution by unanimous vote of its members on June 4. If further investigation concludes that a mutually beneficial ar-rangement is feasible, Trinity College would build a new $11-14 million campus on land adjacent to the Lynnwood church, to be completed by July 2009.
Issaquah, eighteen miles east of Seattle, where Trinity moved in 1980, is “a pretty much rural, upscale bedroom community for Seat-tle,” Stamm says. “There’s a lack of diversity, and no public transportation to work sites, to practicum or internship sites.”
The college leases its current property.
In contrast, Stamm says, “Lynnwood is more eclectic, has greater cultural diversity and closer proximity to other institutions of higher education. It has more businesses, more restaurants and a more congenial atmosphere. It is north of Seattle, on a major transportation corridor.” The proposed site is at 196th Street Southwest, Lynnwood.
When Trinity was founded in 1944 as an arm of Minne-apolis-based Lutheran Bible Institute, its name was Lutheran Bible Institute of Seattle. It became Trinity Lutheran College in 1999. “There is a fraternity of alumni of LBI of Minn-eapolis and of LBI of Seattle who consider themselves alumni of the same greater institution,” Stamm says. A regionally-accredited independent Lutheran college, Trinity cooperates with both the ELCA and LCMS.
“Change is the clarion call of Scripture,” Stamm says. “But it is important for people to understand that we are keeping in mind throughout this process our unique, distinctive LBI tradition. We focus on the truths and mysteries of Scripture. We want to remain faithful to our mission: providing a biblically centered education. We’re going into this prayerfully.”
According to Stamm, Trinity College and Trinity Church share mutual, yet distinct, interests in mission, ministry and outreach. The church property in Lynn-wood comprises one city block including the church building and an undeveloped portion that could be made available to the college. Purchase of adjacent property owned by a member of the congregation may also be negotiated.
Trinity College began a formal search for a new campus in 2005. With the assistance of Seattle-based MetPartners, real estate consultants, it initially reviewed 19 sites, narrowing the list to eight and finally focusing on Trinity Church, Lynnwood.
This summer, according to Stamm, “Representatives from the college and church are developing protocols that will define the conditions of our collaboration in mission and outreach as well as clarifying the property and financial arrangements.”
Both the church and college are committed to completing [discernment] requirements by the end of September 2006, or earlier if possible, Stamm says.
College construction plans, not yet formalized, would potentially include an education facility to be built in two stages, plus a residence hall. Priorities include worship areas, appropriate office and work space for faculty and staff, and an up-to-date technical environment. The firm of Integrus Architects will design the expected new campus. The estimated $11-14 million budget includes land acquisition, construction, and negotiating the move.
Expanded curriculum is also underway. “Relying on research among alumni, students and prospective students, we’ve recently ap-proved five new majors,” Stamm says. Trinity currently enrolls 125 students and hopes the number will grow to 250. Graduates earn a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree.
Three new majors — applied communications, psychology, and social work — are being added in fall quarter 2006. As with existing majors, each new program will include a ten-week senior internship. Two other majors — business and teacher education — were approved by the board June 1. When implemented, they will bring to eleven the total number of major fields. The college will shift from a quarter system to a semester system in fall 2007.
Each Trinity graduate completes a minor in biblical studies, with the exception of those who major in that field. Trinity’s core curriculum of 24 credit hours