St Mary’s Episcopal Church in Edmond OK sits on 3 acres of land. The original building dates back to the 1970s and has had a couple renovations since originally built. The property is also landlocked with no room for expansion and members having to use other folk’s nearby parking lots. Additionally, when the parish school outgrew the church location it was located some distance from the church building in Edmond.
The church’s property butts up against the land occupied by the University of Central Oklahoma. In conjunction with their current rector, the Revd Mark Story, the church board and congregation were strongly considering yet another renovation of their current property. They had even commissioned architectural plans. Before taking the final plunge, the church leadership decided to approach the UCO to see if the university had an interest in acquiring their property. UCO had through the years purchased other properties adjacent to the edges of the university and although surprised by the church approaching the university with the idea, was happy to consider acquiring the property. What the university proposed was to swap the current church property for 23 acres of university land which just happened to be near the parish’s St Mary’s Episcopal School. The new property will now provide sufficient parking for the parish.
The new location is north of the current location. In the past when the parish had considered relocating to the north, there was opposition to the proposal that deeply divided the congregation and caused some members to leave the parish. This time it was a welcome and unanimous decision. The parish and UCO have signed a letter of intent and are now awaiting the completion of the title search before finalizing and closing the deal. The parish and the university have agreed to swap the 3 acres for 23 acres and $1.4 million. The rector says that the new building they will consider for the property will likely be smaller than their present building, but much more suited to their current needs.