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Baylor-Waco relations improving

Sept. 20, 1996

Chelsa Dunn/ The LariatWaco prepares to welcome football fans from all over as Baylor gears up for the Big 12.

Sarah Hunter

Lariat Reporter

Baylor--Waco relations have improved since the formation of the Greater Waco Big 12 Task Force, said Steve Smith, director of the Greater Waco Big 12 Task Force.

'There is an air of agreement between Baylor and Waco in trying to accomplish tasks,' Smith said.

These tasks would consist mostly of promoting each other and would be mutually beneficial to both parties.

'There is a desire for the city to help Baylor and a desire for Baylor to help Waco,' Smith said.

Before the formation of the Big 12 Task Force two years ago, Smith said Baylor and Waco worked independently on projects. Both areas realized adjustments for the Big 12 could not be done alone, Smith said. The symbiosis Baylor and Waco has enjoyed for a lengthy time had to be strengthened to remain intact.

'Waco couldn't do it [adjust for the Big 12] by itself and Baylor couldn't do it by itself,' Smith said. 'Now they are applying their own agendas to the same goals. They jumped on the train together and move down the road together.'

Smith attended Baylor 24 years ago and remembers the barrier that existed then.

'In reality, there was a brick wall,' Smith said. 'The barrier has been torn down. I felt, as a student, that I was in my own world. You stayed on campus whether you had a car or not.'

Everything needed was on campus, Smith said.

'The SUB (Bill Daniel Student Center, then Student Union Building) was it,' Smith said. 'Things are different now. Waco has more to offer and more entertainment value.'

At Floyd Casey Stadium, 113 businesses signed up to help Baylor, a growth from last years 85 pledges, Keith Randall, director of Baylor public relations, said.

'Every Big 12 college has grads here,' Randall said.

Randall said relations have always been good between Waco and Baylor and are now at an all time high.

'The Big 12 has carried it to a new level,' Randall said. 'Relations are going to get better every year.'

Carrie Corbett, an Edmond, Okla. sophomore, said Waco has a growing acceptance of Baylor.

'Waco does its best to accommodate Baylor students,' Corbett said.

The open attitude between Baylor, Waco Chamber of Commerce and Waco city officials is spreading to the rest of the community, Smith said.

'It already spread,' Smith said. 'Doors are opening left and right. Both areas are asking, 'What can I do to help?''

The Brazos River is one area that has developed extensively and will continue to develop, Smith said.

'The river just existed when I was in school,' Smith said. 'Now the river will be a key to Waco and Baylor's futures. Development has tripled over the last five years.'

Smith said there is a possibility that a management team, tentatively named 'Lake Brazos Corridor,' will be formed to make sure the development of the Brazos River will be done correctly.

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