A changing campus: Baylor creates updated projects in the 2010s

Baylor's McLane Stadium construction was live on January 21, 2014. The Stadium opened up for the Bear's 2014 football season. Lariat File Photo

By Matthew Muir | Staff Writer

Baylor’s campus experienced tremendous growth and modernization during the 2010s, with changes ranging from construction of new buildings to renovations of existing spaces.

Over the decade, a handful of new buildings sprung up around campus. Across the Brazos River, McLane Stadium opened for the start of the 2014 football season, replacing the Bears’ prior home at the historic Floyd Casey Stadium. Next to McLane, the Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium saw its first season of use in 2015. On campus, the East Village Residential Community first housed students in 2013 and the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation was completed for the fall 2015 semester.

Foster provided almost 40% more space than the Hankamer School of Business’ former home in the Hankamer and Cashion Academic Centers. Anthony Lapes, the business school’s assistant dean for operations, said Foster was designed to provide a better learning environment than the business school’s prior home.

“We have the ability to collaborate in the space in a way we really didn’t have the opportunity to in Hankamer-Cashion,” Lapes said. “The old facility was one where students would come, they would take their classes and then they would leave. Dean [Terry] Maness really had a vision for people coming and staying in the space.”

Foster was built with growth in mind, and Lapes said it will be a long-term home for the business school. Lapes said for a facility of its “size and scope,” Foster presents few issues, with faculty and staff adapting quickly to the ones that did arise.

“One of the challenges, I think, was that we were a little delayed in when we actually could take occupancy of the building,” Lapes said. “There was a sense where moving in did get compressed, so that was a bit challenging to get up and going for the first semester, but people I think adjusted to that very well.”

Other spaces around campus were renovated and repurposed. After the business school moved its operations to Foster, Hankamer-Cashion was renovated before the 2016-2017 school year, including repurposing space in the building for the Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders’ Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic. North and South Russell, Penland, and Martin residence halls also reopened after renovations in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively. A planned renovation of Collins Residence Hall was postponed during this time.

For fall 2017, the Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center (BARC) opened its doors in a repurposed space in the East Village Residential Community. Lilly Ettinger, Baylor’s assistant director of wellness and recovery services, said the BARC’s establishment made it much easier to reach out to students in need.

“At the time before the BARC, there were recovery meetings, but some were at the counseling center, some were in classrooms we rented on campus, some were literally held in my old office which was a converted mechanical office… for us to have a community space was a very big change we were excited about,” Ettinger said. “We are grateful for the space. Honestly we’ve exceeded how much we thought we were going to utilize it; that’s an exciting thing.”

Ettinger also said the decade’s changes around campus, including the BARC’s opening, are indicative of Baylor’s recent growth.

“That has been the story of a growing university; it’s really exciting to be a part of that,” Ettinger said.

In preparing for the next decade, Baylor’s Board of Regents approved funding early this month for the university’s upcoming projects: The Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center and the Baylor Basketball Pavilion. With both set to open in the early 2020s, the development of Baylor’s campus shows no signs of slowing down.