By Meredith Howard | Assistant News Editor
Baylor officials announced Monday afternoon that the Board of Regents approved a $9 million purchase of three downtown buildings that the university has been leasing.
The properties are located at 801, 811 and 821 Washington Ave.
The Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, the Department of Neuroscience, the Doctor of Physical Therapy program and the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty are housed in the recently purchased buildings.
“The Garland School is excited about the opportunity for 811 Washington to be our permanent home and to have more of Baylor join us downtown,” Jon Singletary, dean of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, said in an email to The Lariat. “With partners in psychology and physical therapy, this is a true investment of Baylor in Waco, of putting down roots in the neighborhood where we serve alongside several long-term partners and of seeking to build on the strengths of our community.”
The press release said that Baylor’s financial situation will benefit from this purchase because the purchase price “will not result in any additional financial commitment from the university budget.”
Owning the buildings will be more cost-effective than leasing, according to the statement.
“At the recommendation of the University, the Board of Regents determined that the purchase of these key properties improves Baylor’s long-term financial position by owning versus leasing facilities that can be used for much-needed academic space now and into the future, while also advancing Illuminate, Baylor’s strategic plan, as part of the University’s pursuit of Tier 1/Research 1 status,” the announcement said.
The announcement also said that Baylor officials were not seeking out the purchase of these buildings, but they had the first opportunity to do so due to their leasing agreement.
“Based on its existing lease agreements with the property owners, Baylor had the right of first refusal to purchase the properties should the owners decide to sell.”