There will be no more Zion Bible College at the site of the former Bradford College next year.
No, Zion is not moving out. It's changing its name.
The college will be called Northpoint Bible College starting Jan. 1.
The name change comes as a result of some confusion in relation to the Pentecostal Christian school.
"The term 'Zion' is very misunderstood in religious community among Evangelicals," said Crabtree. "There are a lot of misconceptions where people thought we were some kind of Jewish organization. The term Zionism means different things to different people."
The college decided to scrap the name to avoid any misunderstanding and then looked into new possible names for the school. More than 200 names were considered and suggestions were taken from students, faculty and the college's Board of Trustees.
The school ultimately decided on Northpoint because it had both spiritual and regional ties. Along with it being in the northeastern United States, it has a spiritual dimension, with "north point" being another name for the location of a higher being.
"West Point is known for excellence in military training. Northpoint will be known for excellence in ministry training," reads a press release from the school.
Despite the name change, Crabtree said that there will be no changes to the mission of the school.
"We may change our name, but not our purpose, which is to teach and train students for vocational ministry," he said.
The school is in the early process of the name change. The college has to go through several accreditations, including reviews of the name change, which require approval. Crabtree said it is a "slow process," but is well underway.
As Jan. 1 approaches, there will be contests among the student body to design a new logo for the college and come up with a slogan to accompany the new name.
The school is also in the process of some other changes around the campus in Bradford. It recently upgraded its athletic facilities with a new aerobics and fitness center. An old gym building was renovated and is now used for basketball and other activities. The school is also restructuring Denworth Hall into a modern theater. It will be renamed Gibson Hall, after the college's founder, Christine Gibson.
Crabtree said that the school is debt free for the first time since moving into Haverhill in 2008. The school has increased its enrollment by 100 students and hopes to have more than 400 students by the fall.
Zion Bible College moved out of Barrington, RI, in 2007, after looking for a bigger space. Strict Rhode Island fire and safety regulations passed after the infamous Station nightclub fire in 2003 made it expensive to renovate older buildings like the ones which were on Zion's previous campus. The Hobby Lobby, a national chain of retail hobby stores, bought the Bradford campus in 2007 and donated it to Zion Bible College. Zion started classes there in the fall of 2009.
The Bradford College liberal arts school closed in 2000 due to financial problems, and the campus remained vacant until Zion moved in.
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