By Megan Grindstaff
With opening day roughly seven months away, McLane Stadium is rapidly starting to take shape.
The athletic department hopes the new facility will improve the game day experience for players and fans, while leaving a smaller carbon footprint in the process.
Since the beginning of the design process, deputy athletics director Todd Patulski and his staff wanted the new stadium to build on the green legacy the athletic department has worked hard to establish.
Over the course of the 2012 football season, Floyd Casey Stadium patrons and staff recycled approximately 11 tons of material. This season, the stadium logged almost 50 percent more recycled material, at approximately 15 tons. Tom Hill, associate athletic director for community relations and special projects, said the extreme jump in recycling is the result of the commitment of the cleaning staff to a simple, efficient system.
Hill said he intends to carry that system over to McLane Stadium in hopes the numbers will continue to grow in the 2014 season.
“We are a touchdown in the way we have gone green,” Hill said. “Our athletic program has led the country on more than one year in our recycling efforts and our sustainability efforts.”
In 2009, the Highers Athletics Complex, which uses wind and solar sources for 70 percent of its energy, become the second building on campus to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Allison Indoor Football Practice Facility received the same certification in 2010. While McLane Stadium will not be LEED certified, it will follow in the footsteps of the most recent athletic facilities in terms of sustainable efforts.
“They chose not to do the LEED certification” Patulski said. “However, they did choose many of the things within LEED certification to get the points.”
Most of the sustainably conscious features of the stadium will be imperceptible to a fan, and that’s the way designers intended it to be, Hill said. Game day experience will be uninhibited by the green initiatives in place. Negligible features such as special toilet floats, high-efficiency lights and low-flow water fixtures will make a big impact without a fan ever noticing, Hill said.
The impetus among fans to keep cleaning up after themselves and to do the right thing with their waste will be higher in a new, beautiful stadium, Hill said. Patrons will want to keep the facility clean out of principle, he said.
“Cleanliness promotes cleanliness. Dirtiness promotes dirtiness,” Hill said. “I think that prevalent thought of sustainability and recycling in a brand new stadium is going to be there.”
An increase in concessions at the new stadium will lead to higher recycling statistics, based on volume of trash alone, Patulski said.
The location of the stadium will have a positive effect on the student involvement in the facility’s sustainability initiatives. Proximity to campus will force students to be aware of things like the cleanliness of the tailgate area and motivate them to recycle their materials, Patulski said.
Associate director of sustainability Smith Getterman organizes on-campus green initiatives, including the Sustainability Student Advisory Board and game day volunteers.
Volunteer coordination for game days is still in discussion phases at this point in time.
Any students looking to get involved with sustainability at McLane Stadium or in general can contact him at Smith_Getterman@Baylor.edu.