BU, UMHB to take ownership of Independence site

The bells of the McLane Carillon that hangs in Pat Neff Hall are adorned with lyrics from "That Good Old Baylor Line." They rang Sunday in contemplation of the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11. (Nick Berryman | Lariat Photographer)

The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board has voted to transfer Old Baylor Park in Independence to Baylor University and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

According to a BGCT press release, the two universities requested ownership in order to invest in preservation of the remaining columns of the original university and upgrades to walking paths and restrooms. As part of the agreement, the BGCT would have right of first refusal for $1 if the universities decided to sell the park.

The BGCT took ownership of Old Baylor Park in 1965 from Baylor University, which had left Independence in 1886. The convention separated the Female Department of Baylor to create the Baylor Female College, later renamed UMHB, in 1866. In 2011, Baylor began to allow non-Baptist Christians to comprise up to 25 percent of the university’s board of regents, leading to a new special agreement with the BGCT, which continued to allow the group to appoint 25 percent of the board and reduced funding for Baylor by nearly $1 million.