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Staple of Kansas City for 50 years relocating to Leawood

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The Saint Paul School of Theology has been a staple in east Kansas City for 50 years, but now it's leaving Missouri and moving to Leawood, KS. The school began the process of relocating, and some are not happy about it.

Since 1959, Saint Paul School of Theology has trained and educated leaders of the church.

"Our primary degree is master of divinity," said Dr. Myron McCoy, the president of the School of Theology.

But lately, a decline in enrollment has led to the school searching for a new location.

"The changing needs of students - where they once were living on campus, they are now living at home and commuting," McCoy said.

McCoy said churches aren't investing in ministers with master's degrees like they did years before.

"The Christian church by and large is in decline in this area," he said.

And the upkeep and maintenance of the historic buildings proved to be costly, so administrators decided to share space with a much larger church - the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood.

"They have classrooms that are not being utilized during the day," McCoy said of the United Methodist Church.

At least one organization is not happy about the move.

"It's certainly better for you because you're getting a tremendous asset, but look what you've done to us," David Biersmith said.

Biersmith began the Truman Rod Corridor Association 20 years ago as a neighborhood improvement group. He's seen what abandoned buildings, like a former elementary school, have done to the neighborhood.

"Can you imagine what 17 acres in this neighborhood sitting vacant is going to do? It's going to draw every bad guy doing drugs, stealing copper," Biersmith said.

"We see this as holy ground and we are looking for occupants to continue to serve this community," McCoy said.

The school is awaiting approval from the accrediting board and said the relocation can come as soon as this summer.

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