Dallas church unveils plans for downtown campus

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by SHON GABLES

WFAA

Posted on May 16, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Updated Sunday, May 16 at 10:54 PM

DALLAS — First Baptist Church of Dallas has raised $115 million in just seven months for a project that will transform downtown Dallas.

The church is building a state-of-the-art campus that will replace most existing buildings with an acre of new buildings and even a sky bridge.

FBC Dallas showed unveiled models of the project on Sunday, and the congregation celebrated setting a record for raising the largest amount of money ever for a Protestant church.

"We have far surpassed what any Protestant mega-church has ever given to any project in the history of Christianity," said Senior Pastor Robert Jeffress. "This is a tremendous thing that God has done."

Construction on the new campus begins July 11 and is expected to take three years to complete.

Five of the church's existing buildings will be replaced with more than one acre of environmentally-friendly green space, a fountain, multi-level parking, an educational building and a new worship center equipped with a sky bridge.

Only the Criswell Center and the original sanctuary will go untouched.

"As a member of First Baptist and also as mayor, this is an important addition to downtown," said Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert. "So when you think about the Arts Center, you think about the investment that's going on the other side of downtown with the convention center and hotel, this becomes an important part of what we're trying to accomplish to make downtown livable."

And according to Pastor Jeffress, timing for the three-year project couldn't come at a better time.

"It's very opportune for us to proceed right now because of the historically low construction costs," he said.

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com

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