A "Win-Win-Win" For Our Schools and Our Community
By Dr. Beth Stroble, president of Webster University
For four decades Webster University has worked with our across-Lockwood-Avenue neighbor, Eden Theological Seminary, as partners in education. Today, we are in the process of continuing our historic collaboration to better enable both institutions to meet the needs of the 21st Century, and to continue as contributing members of the Webster Groves community.
Webster University has acquired the now-vacant Luhr Library. Most of Eden’s library collections have been moved to Webster’s Emerson Library, and our two schools now share that library as the “main library” for both schools. By working with Eden for land already in use as a campus, we are able to improve our physical plant without acquiring even one square foot of property that is not already committed to academic use.
As part of this agreement, Webster also has signed a 7-year lease on the playing fields at the corner of Lockwood and Bompart. Those fields will be used by Webster students and also will remain available to the Eden community and the Webster Groves community at large, as they always have been.
We are sensitive to the concerns of our neighbors who are uneasy about any expansion of the Webster campus. We have hired a highly respected campus planning firm to assist us in creating a new master plan.
Our initial plan included the remodeling and repurposing of the Wehrli Center and the “White House” building, possibly as the official on-campus residence for the University president in the area of Lockwood and Joy. If we proceed with this plan, it will mark the first time in 40 years that the president of our University will reside on-campus in Webster Groves.
Final decisions on the new uses of these facilities will be made as part of a comprehensive update of our campus master plan. We look forward to engaging both our campus community and the Webster Groves community in this planning process.
Like all successful educational institutions, Webster University must continually improve its campus to provide our students a 21st-century learning environment. Our goal is to continue to be an institution in which Webster Groves and the larger St. Louis community can take pride. At the same time, we must while remaining completely respectful of our neighbors’ concerns over campus sprawl. And, we want to help assure the future and continued prosperity of Eden Theological Seminary.
Webster University is proud of its place in the history of Webster Groves and we are excited about our shared future. We look forward to working with all of our neighbors as we face the challenges and opportunities of building an even stronger “town and gown” partnership.