A Quick Tour of the Campus

By Mike Zaeske

 

Present-day Port Austin Bible Campus, located just south of the corporate limits of the Village of Port Austin at the “Tip of Michigan’s Thumb” area, was originally built as a SAC base for the U.S. Air Force sometime during the 1950’s. After it was decommissioned in the late 1980’s, the property was purchased by a group of locals. It has had several owners since that time, the most recent being the Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community Sacred Purpose Trust, which makes the campus and its facilities available to PABC.

 

A quick overview of the property reveals the following basic statistics:

 

1)      The present campus consists of about 24 acres of land.

2)      There are presently a total of four two-story dormitory buildings that are a part of the campus. Two are fully furnished with a compliment of 70 beds between them. There are two large bathroom facilities per dorm (one on each floor) with showers, lavatories, and commodes adequate to accommodate all of the students who might be living there. Additionally, there is a fully functional laundry room in each dorm. It is still necessary to purchase some desks, floor lamps, and small appliances like microwaves, etc., and a modern heating plant needs to be installed in each of the four dorms, but for the most part, two of them are ready to go, at least for warm weather activities. Two changes of bedding are available for every bed.

3)      The ministry headquarters presently is housed in a two-story building, which has a home and some offices on the first floor, and has ten motel-style rooms on the second. Originally, the building housed non-commissioned officers and was designed around modules of two individual bedrooms with a shared bathroom. Additionally, there is a lounge/TV area with a small kitchen on the second floor and one room with a private bathroom. The first floor has been remodeled and now contains the ministry office in addition to a four-bedroom, two-bathroom living area with a complete kitchen. This building was recently retrofitted with a modern forced air furnace and a large capacity domestic hot water system.

4)      A cafeteria building capable of comfortably seating 80 people is central to the campus. It contains two walk-in refrigerators, a walk-in freezer, a large pantry, a commercial stove, two ovens, an outdoor brick grill, three sinks, a full set of utensils and an office. It was licensed by the State of Michigan Health Department until recently, but now, since there is no commercial business need, the licensing was dropped. The building is also equipped with an industrial dishwasher that needs some student-repair technicians to assist in its repair so it can be reintegrated into the daily kitchen clean-up chores campaign. While the dining hall is designed to handle 80 comfortably, 120+ individuals could still be easily accommodated by simply serving meals spread over two separate meal shifts, should the situation warrant it. The dining hall presently also serves as a meeting area for PABC’s morning Bible studies, a home-schooling classroom, a board-game room, a musical practice area, and a place for late-night snackers to gather before retiring.

5)      Another fairly large building on campus is the gym/meeting hall. Certainly, it is also considered one of the main buildings on campus, and, quite fittingly, it is a multi-use facility, too. It is divided into four parts. An “L shaped” assembly room that easily seats about 65 people is at the south side of the building. This room has a very high ceiling which has worked well for music presentation. It is presently being used as a sanctuary where Sabbath-day services open to the general public are conducted every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. In addition to the assembly area, the building contains two offices, a classroom, a gym with a small basketball and volleyball court, a racquetball room, a weight room, and a small storage area. The large meeting room could be easily subdivided to create several makeshift classrooms if necessary.

6)      Southwest and across the street from the dining hall is another rather large building that has a large meeting area, a food serving area, a lounge, two offices, and a storage room. This could be used for Sabbath services, daily worship meetings and possibly classes; however, its usage has been pushed far into the future due to necessary repairs, which will take significant sums of money.

7)      The motor pool building can be found just south and to the east of the back of the cafeteria. It has four full bays (20' height), an office, and a classroom. It is in fairly good shape, both inside and out, and would probably be best put to work if an auto-mechanics program could be established! The industrial heating in the building is functional, lighting and electrical power all appear to be adequate and operational, but modern auto hoists and a full complement of tools need to be acquired.

8)      At the far southern end of campus there is a standalone classroom/office/storage type building with at least 600 square feet of usable space. No specific use for this building is yet in the works although it has been considered as a possible site for the library, which is instead currently housed in the gym/meeting hall building.

9)      Several small storage buildings are spread out across the campus.

10)   A two-lane bowling alley lies to the east of the gym/meeting hall.

11)   An outdoor brick grill is built into the rear of the cafeteria, and several picnic tables are arranged nearby, providing an area suitable for large picnics.

12)   Two lighted tennis courts are located just north of the motor-pool building. They each presently need lighting and court repairs, which will probably attain a high priority once the warm weather returns.

13)   A lighted baseball/football field can be found at the south-western corner of the campus.

14)   A children's playground with slides, swings, and jungle-gyms is near the tennis courts.

15)   A separate cinderblock building, which is not contiguous with the main campus, lies to the west of the campus. It contains at least 2000 square feet, but its interior could not idealistically be reconfigured into classrooms or shop areas. At the very least, however, with a small amount of attention to its roof, it will make for ideal storage.

 

There are additional properties in the immediate vicinity of the present campus that could be purchased any time in the future, but which would require some major work before they might be incorporated into the overall campus environment. These include:

 

- A 6000-square foot building with loading docks, a three-foot concrete roof and bermed earth graded up against the lower portion of most exterior walls. This building was originally designed to withstand a nuclear attack, and we have been told the walls are so thick and it is so sturdily built that the building requires little heating and cooling.

- An 1800-square foot building with a new interior and air conditioning, which has been used to house a pizza restaurant, would be ideally suited as an office/welcome facility. The large parking area and large outdoor sign area make it a definite consideration should this building come onto the market.

- Northeast of campus there is a rather large frame church building. Should this become available at the right time and for the right price, it would most likely be looked at very closely.

- About a quarter mile south of the church building (about a half mile from campus) there is an older farm house in rather nice repair which might be purchased and used as an entry point with signs directing individuals to the campus.

 

There are also residential houses in the area for sale at reasonable prices.