Free Lutheran Schools Form Building Committee, Receive Seed Gift as Gymnasium and Dormitory Plans Advance

CONTACT SHERRY MORK, 763-412-2004,

The Free Lutheran Schools have made significant progress toward the construction of a gymnasium and dormitory on its campus in Plymouth, MN. This progress includes the formation of a new building committee and the reception of a large seed gift from an anonymous donor. This construction project is designed to facilitate and further the ministry of establishing students in the eternal and inerrant Word of God, for a life of faith in Jesus Christ and faithful service in His kingdom, especially through the local congregation.

An on-campus gymnasium has long been a desire of students and alumni, and increasing enrollment indicates the need for additional on-campus housing, for students of the Bible School (AFLBS) and Seminary (AFLTS). The Free Lutheran Schools Corporation affirmed their desire to build at their June 2017 annual meeting, giving permission to proceed once 50% of building costs are received in cash, plus another 20% in commitments.

A new building committee has been formed, with a three-year task of completing construction of both a gymnasium and a dormitory. The building committee will evaluate current building plans in support of the strategic plan of the Free Lutheran Schools; choose plans, architect, and contractor; and oversee actual construction. This building committee consists of:

Steve Jankord, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Paul Hensrud, Grand Forks, North Dakota
James Rolf, Moorhead, Minnesota
Ivar Berge, Fargo, North Dakota
David Haugen, Pelican Rapids, Minnesota
Wanda Jacobson, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
Phil Johnson, Esko, Minnesota

With thanks and praise to God, the Free Lutheran Schools are also pleased to announce an initial gift of $1,700,000 as a seed gift from an anonymous donor. The Schools encourage other donors to join this effort. Construction will begin as soon as giving thresholds are met, with a goal of opening a new gymnasium for use in the fall of 2019.

Find additional details in the FAQs below.


Founded in 1964 by the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (, the Free Lutheran Schools include a two year post-secondary program (Association Free Lutheran Bible School- and a four year pastoral training program at the Masters of Divinity Level (Association Free Lutheran Theological Seminary- The Free Lutheran Schools Corporation is a candidate member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS,


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the approximate cost of the structures under consideration?

The gymnasium and the dorm each cost about $5,000,000, for a total (including additional site work and miscellaneous fees) of about $10,000,000.

2. Do you need to get additional permission from the city or neighborhood?

While additional permits are needed for construction, permission is not a problem, as our Planned Development from the construction of Heritage Hall is still valid.

3. How far along are you in the planning stage?

We have functional plans for both a gymnasium and a dormitory. We would like to revisit those plans and revise them to some extent, but we are close.

4. Which building will come first?

While we would like to build both buildings in the next three years, the gymnasium will likely be the priority.

5. Why do you need a gymnasium?

The gym is a long-desired part of our campus vision. It will provide space for intercollegiate and intramural athletics, allow for large on-campus gatherings like graduation and Annual Conference, contain space for current/future office and classroom needs, and include a fitness center for the physical benefit of students, staff, and faculty.

6. Why do you need a dormitory?

Current enrollment at AFLBS is increasing, but not to the extent to fill a third dorm fully. As a two-year college AFLBS is always two years away from being completely full, and our strategic plan is designed to fill the campus with 160 students as soon as possible. This is not just wishing but an active, intentional effort to introduce students and parents to AFLBS and invite them to be a part of our campus family. AFLTS enrollment is growing and on-campus housing would be a great benefit. With that in mind, we have designed the first floor of the dorm to hold 10 apartments for seminary families, with the second floor holding 48 AFLBS students. These rooms would be premium rooms with AC and private bathrooms. The entire dorm could be converted to house AFLBS students as need arises.

7. Will a gymnasium increase enrollment?

We believe that the quality of our program is good enough to attract a full campus of students without additional construction. We are working hard to maintain and improve our facilities, and to sharpen and advance our program, so as to attract new students. We are also recruiting students and telling our story of good ministry in a more aggressive, intentional way. We believe that the presence of a gymnasium will be attractive for some students and will increase enrollment in the short term. Long term, only a solid program built around equipping young people in the Word of God will sustain enrollment. This is our goal, so this is an encouragement to stay focused on that goal.

8. We’ve been talking about a gym for years. Is this just more talk?

The Schools believe that building a gym is a good idea for the purpose of enhancing our educational programs and residential student life, and thus will further our mission of establishing students in the Word of God for life in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we will build the gym as soon as financially possible.

9. Why are you talking about two buildings instead of one?

There is strong reason to believe that a significant percentage of Schools alumni and friends want to advance the building plan on campus. If giving is sufficient to build both buildings in a relatively short amount of time, we would like to do so, and not have to talk about building again for quite some time. If that level of giving is not sufficient, we will focus on one building first, but not put the other building on hold indefinitely.

10. Do you think the money is “out there?”

We believe there is sufficient giving that will come through a combination of large and small gifts, gifts from inside and outside the AFLC, and financial support from our regular business operations. An initial gift of $100,000 per month for 17 months ending December 2018 furthers this optimism, as does a small number of larger donors and a large number of smaller donors. More than anything, pent up demand and decades of longing for a gymnasium leads us to believe that donor interest exists.

11. What if you don’t get the money? Or enrollment doesn’t go up? Or enrollment declines later?

If we don’t get the money, we won’t build. This has been stipulated by the Corporation and is also a wise business decision. Our goal is for enrollment to increase. If it doesn’t we will be surprised, but we are also proceeding in such a way to ensure that possessing excellent and up-to-date facilities doesn’t become a liability. We are aware of this risk, and are mitigating it.

12. Will this special project shift giving away from the ministry of the Schools, or away from other AFLC ministries?

It could. We hope it doesn’t. The Schools have enough support to make this happen without givers shifting away from other AFLC departments. We anticipate some gift-shifting from the regular ministry of the School to building, and will budget accordingly.

13. What are some possible financial scenarios?

We already have $100,000 in cash plus a cash/promise-to-give commitment combination of $1.7M, with other donors considering.

a)     Building 1- $5M total cost = $2.5M cash, $1M commitments, and $1.5M loan

b)    Building 1 and 2- $10M total cost = $5M cash, $2M commitments, and $3M loan

Ideally, both buildings would be covered by a combination of cash and commitments of $10M through the 2020-2021 school year.

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