Baylor should help fund Waco airport expansion

By Lexy Norman | Contributor

Baylor University is a proudly diverse campus with students coming from different religions, cultures and parts of the country and world. In fact, around 35% of students are residents from outside of Texas, according to the Baylor Institutional Research and Testing report of fall 2018 undergraduates. To get to school from home, most would take an airplane. However, the closest international airports are Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, 110 miles south of Baylor, and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, 110 miles north. These locations are not ideal for students who do not have their own means of transportation, like me.

What some people forget is that there is an airport in Waco, but it is regional, small and expensive, so most students who have a car just make the drive to Austin or Dallas.

The Waco Regional Airport flies to and from Dallas/Fort Worth in a hopper plane, so there are no direct flights to wherever your final destination is, unless that is DFW. As an out-of-state student with no car, I find it especially stressful when figuring out rides and paying people for gas money to take me to one of the two major airports. All of this assuming that most people who fly in and out of Waco Regional Airport are students or somehow related to Baylor.

Considering this information, I think Baylor should take partnership with the Waco airport by donating money to expand it, instead of using that money to fund a multi-million-dollar welcome center. Unlike the welcome center that will only affect prospective students, the expanded airport will benefit current students.

Additionally, I think it would really affect the decision to come to Baylor for out-of-state students. If Baylor did not have such a good reputation, I probably would not have come here because of the lack of accessible air travel. If I was ever in a rush to go home to California for an emergency, I could not imagine the stress and frustration that would accompany me while I had to scramble to find someone to take me. Even worse, I would probably have to Uber there — which I have done before, and it cost me around $150.

With the extra money that Baylor has, donating it to the expansion of the Waco airport would make the school more appealing and easily accessible to students who do not reside in Texas or live too far to drive. Specifically, I would like for the Waco Regional Airport to have domestic flights, not necessarily international.

I believe that a large number of prospective and current students would utilize the expansion, making it also cheaper. This is a realistic solution to the problem of accessibility to Baylor’s campus, although it may take a couple of years, I think it will pay off.

Lexy is a freshman journalism major from Orange, Calif.Lexy is a freshman journalism major from Orange, Calif.