Baylor outlines preliminary plan for new basketball arena

Baylor plans to open a new basketball arena (mock-up pictured) as a part of its athletics master plan. Photo courtesy of Baylor University

By Ben Everett | Sports Editor

Baylor plans to build a new basketball arena as a part of its Give Light campaign, the university announced last week.

Both men’s and women’s basketball currently play in the Ferrell Center, which is the oldest intercollegiate athletics facility on campus. Baylor plans to build a new arena that takes cues from other Power 5, or high-level, athletic institutions, in which the fan environment is more intimate.

Baylor will build on the “fieldhouse” concept that Big 12 schools such as Kansas and Oklahoma State utilize, in which the arena is small, but emphasizes fan experience and home court advantage.

Baylor men’s basketball head coach Scott Drew said everyone is excited by the idea of brand new arena.

“I tried to get out there and break ground yesterday by myself,” Drew joked. “I love it. I can’t wait for it … I know we’re all excited for the future.”

Baylor men’s basketball holds a 328-158 all-time record at the Ferrell Center, while women’s basketball boasts a 370-97 record in the arena, which opened in 1988.

Baylor women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey said she doesn’t want to jump the gun, but she would be excited about a new arena.

“I’m aware of it, but I don’t know the details of how realistic it is and what the plan is,” Mulkey said. “All I focus on is basketball, and if they tell us they’re sticking a shovel in the ground, I’ll be excited.”

The Give Light campaign is a $1.1 billion plan for the future of Baylor. The university has already reached nearly half of their goal and the largest gift in Baylor history by Mark and Paula Hurd will help create a new Welcome Center.

Outlined in the Give Light campaign is an athletics master plan. According to the Give Light campaign website, “Baylor Athletics is the ‘front porch’ through which many people learn about this institution, and through which many students make their decisions to attend Baylor.”

In addition to a new basketball arena, the master plan includes construction of a football operations center next to the current football practice facilities that would house coaches offices, meeting rooms and weight rooms.

The university also plans to build a practice venue for the volleyball and acrobatics and tumbling teams. These teams currently practice in 80-year-old Marrs McLean Gymnasium.