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Baptist Builders set to save Carson-Newman $1 million


Susan Randolph, part of the team from Cookeville’s Stevens Street Baptist Church, paints a cork board in Carson-Newman’s Burnett Hall. Randolph joined about 30 other Baptist Builder volunteers in improvement projects on campus this year.

(June 18, 2015)— About 30 Baptist Builders volunteers are spending part of their summer at Carson-Newman University helping with improvement projects across campus for the sixth straight year. They are here for two weeks, June 15-26.

By the time they finish work this year, Baptist Builders will have saved Carson-Newman $1 million cumulatively.

Some of the biggest projects the Builders are tackling this year are aimed at improving Burnett Hall. They include cleaning and painting heating and air conditioning units, painting corkboards and replacing more than 270 chairs.

Margaret and George Bradley of First Baptist Church of Greeneville coordinate the Baptist Builders efforts each year. Margaret says Carson-Newman’s Christian mission and people keep the group coming back, making the $1 million dollar milestone even more exciting.

“It’s like, ‘you have got to be kidding me!’ I think, hopefully, that’s why God has us here and he is blessing this project,” Bradley says. “The glory needs to go to Him and the credit needs to go to the teams that come in.”

After finishing work in Burnett Hall, the Baptist Builders will move on to projects such as repainting parking lot stripes, servicing campus benches and restoring porches.

Wallace Memorial Baptist volunteer Ninette Campbell says she has enjoyed all of the projects she has worked on in her two years with the Baptist Builders, but this year’s work in Burnett Hall hits close to home. Campbell’s granddaughter graduated from Carson-Newman last May, having spent two years in the residence halls.

“When I’m working in this room I think, ‘I would like this done right,’” Campbell says. “I would like a young lady like my granddaughter to come in here and feel at home because this room was fixed up and somebody cared about it.”

Baptist Builders volunteers come from churches across East Tennessee including Stevens Street Baptist Church in Cookeville, Wallace Memorial Baptist Church in Knoxville, Cumberland Plateau Baptist Church in Crossville and Blue Springs Baptist Church in Crossville.

“Everything they do is directed to helping our students in some way, which is critical because these are things we would have to pay someone to do,” says Ondes Webster, Carson-Newman’s director of physical plant and construction manager. “A lot of the work they do is usually excruciating labor, things that people don’t want to do. They do it gladly and happily.”

Baptist Builders are volunteers from Baptist churches who use construction to minister and provide disaster relief. The Tennessee Baptist Builders are organized through the Tennessee Baptist Convention and often work in conjunction with the convention’s Disaster Relief teams, with many volunteers serving on both teams.

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