By Madison Ferril
Students were given the opportunity to speak up on Wednesday night at a Student Government town hall meeting. Attendees voiced opinions and concerns about building projects such as Baylor Stadium, the new business hall, and South Russell renovations.
Brian Nicholson, associate vice president for facility, planning and construction, gave a presentation over the Baylor Stadium construction and concepts for the new business school.
Nicholson said designs were finalized for the new stadium Friday, even though the stadium has been under construction since last November.
“We were building certain sections of it in advance of having the design complete,” Nicholson said.
The new stadium will provide 7,000 to 8,000 student seats, going from end zone to end zone on the bottom deck of the stadium. There will be one video board at the end zone, which will be 4500 square feet.
“All the concourses will be wide open so if you go to the restroom or go to get concessions you can turn around and see the game,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson said an events center could be added to the stadium area later and a boat tailgating area will be available. Construction on the bridges to the stadium will begin this summer.
Nicholson said he doesn’t know what Baylor will do with Floyd Casey once Baylor Stadium is complete.
“We haven’t evaluated it yet,” Nicholson said. “Waco ISD I guess built a new football stadium about 6 or 7 years ago, so I don’t know if they have a need for it.”
Nicholson addressed student concerns about safety at the new stadium because of its location in relation to Interstate 35.
“On a general basis, we’re looking at cameras around the perimeter of the stadium and bright lighting throughout the parking lots,” Nicholson said. “As for game day operations, we don’t have the answer yet. We have some consultants that we’ve hired that help with parking and transportation for stadiums across the nation.”
After discussion of the stadium, the meeting addressed the new business building. The new business school will sit across Bagby from East Village, between Third and Fourth Streets.
“We will probably keep the area fenced off for the fall semester,” Nicholson said.
A preliminary budget has been set and designs are starting. The project cost is estimated at $100 million.
Dr. Jeff Doyle, dean for student learning and engagement, took the stage next to talk about the features of East Village and the plans for renovating South Russell Hall.
East Village will have a two-story dining hall, engineering and computer science technology lab, a convenience store and a frozen yogurt stand called Red Mango.
“We wanted a community where people would want to stay for four years,” Doyle said.
The residence hall will open in early August. Campus Living and Learning is currently fundraising for a chapel for East Village. Doyle said the chapel would not host official Sunday services.
“Research has shown that students who become involved in local churches are more likely to stay at Baylor,” Doyle said.
Renovations will begin on South Russell Hall this summer. Doyle said some new features will include an area for fitness and aerobics classes in the basement, along with a lounge area. South Russell will also include a faculty-in-residence apartment and a classroom.
Doyle said South Russell could become a dorm for both men and women.
“For the first year, it will be all female because we’re looking to take North Russell down the next year,” Doyle said.
Doyle said prices for South Russell will go up because of the renovations, as housing prices increase by a few percentage points each year. Housing prices will not increase for the 2013-2014 school year though.
“We are working very hard to keep housing prices down,” Doyle said.
A student asked if Baylor would continue to seek feedback from students for future projects and External Vice President Kelly Rapp said Baylor will keep working with students on future plans.
“They’ve truly been very receptive to students so far and the plan would be to continue to do that,” Rapp said.