GRACEVILLE–The sale of Blue Springs Conference Center located in Marianna was completed July 8, according to Thomas Kinchen, president of The Baptist College of Florida.
The 90-acre retreat center was sold by the college to Camp Anderson Ministries in Old Town, a Christian campground ministry with a retreat center on the Suwanee River, with the intention of developing a similar camping ministry in the Blue Springs location.
The Blue Springs facility was constructed by the Florida Baptist Convention in 1982 and served as one of its two conference facilities until 2016. Facing declining use of the conference center, the convention sought to sell the property off and on for several years.
The college, a cooperating ministry of the Florida Baptist State Convention, requested that the conference center be donated to the school to become an extension of its ministry and provide another learning environment for its students. The Blue Springs campus is located about 35 miles from the Graceville school.
BCF operated the retreat center and had its first profitable season in recent years during the summer of 2018, said Kinchen.
In October 2018, Hurricane Michael ravaged the Northwest Florida area, causing significant damage to the facility. The school determined that selling the retreat center would be its best option.
“My heart was broken at the devastation of Blue Springs as a result of Hurricane Michael,” said Kinchen. “I felt that the college would not be able to bring the facility back to its full potential while continuing to operate our primary function of Christian higher education. My great desire in the whole process was to see the property remain as a Christian camp and conference center.”
After contacts from several organizations, the school agreed to sell the property to the Camp Anderson Ministries with its successful operation in Florida. The sale was completed this month. .
“I believe that this is a fabulous development that has been brought about by our Lord,” said Kinchen. “The property will host far more folks than we could have ever accommodated, and countless individuals will come to faith in Christ at this place in the future. I wish for the new owners every blessing and success provided by our Lord.”
With the sale of the Marianna property, BCF still maintains the 250-acre campus in Graceville.
Additionally, the college is set to open a second campus in Lakeland in January 2021. Kinchen called this new campus opening a trip “back to the future” for the school that was founded in Lakeland in 1943.
For more information on the college that is “Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word.®” contact 850-263-3261 or visit the website at baptistcollege.edu.