Baylor Regents Approve $120 Million in Capital Improvements, Including Construction of East Village Residential Community, Renovation of Marrs McLean Science Building, Next Phase of BRIC Construction

  • News Photo 5312
    Rendering showing the perspective on Baylor's East Village Residential Community from Second Street and Bagby Avenue.
  • News Photo 5313
    Rendering showing the perspective on Baylor's East Village Residential Community from Third Street and Bagby Avenue.
Nov. 4, 2011

Board also discusses draft of Strategic Plan, honors Baylor Meritorious Achievement Award recipients

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Media contact: Lori Fogleman, (254) 710-6275

WACO, Texas (Nov. 4, 2011) - At its annual Homecoming meeting today, the Baylor University Board of Regents approved $120 million in capital improvements, the largest investment in construction on the Baylor campus since the Baylor Sciences Building in 2004. Construction will be financed through the issuance of bonds and will include a new 700-bed residential complex and dining facility on the east side of campus, the renovation of the Marrs McLean Science Building and Phase 2 of initial construction on academic and research space in the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC).

In other business today, Regents reviewed and discussed the first draft of the university's Strategic Plan. The plan, which has been guided by input from thousands of members of the Baylor family since the planning process began in fall 2010, was presented by Baylor Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Davis.

On Thursday evening, Baylor Regents honored 12 members of the Baylor family with the 2011-12 Baylor Meritorious Achievement Awards and the Founders Medal. The awards acknowledge Baylor's important role in American higher education and recognize those who have made significant contributions in a variety of areas which reflect Baylor's distinct mission.

East Village Residential Community

The $70 million, 238,715-square-foot East Village Residential Community will consist of two four-story facilities: the 354-bed North Residential Community that will include the Engineering and Computer Science Residential College and the 347-bed South Residential Community that will include the Science and Health Living-Learning Community (LLC). The facilities will feature a variety of living spaces, from semi-suites to apartment-style living, as well as study and seminar spaces, student lounge areas, media and game rooms, faculty offices, staff apartments and faculty master apartments. The East Village Residential Community will be built along Bagby Avenue between Second and Fourth streets. Resident parking will be accommodated by the already constructed East Campus Parking Facility.

The East Village Residential Community is part of the 21st Century Project of the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I), an innovative national effort to plan a prototype residence hall of the 21st century. Baylor was chosen in 2009 as one of only three higher education institutions to participate in the project that focuses on groundbreaking approaches in the design of unique, functional and technologically advanced living experiences that play a vital role in attracting and retaining students.

"One of our major imperatives at Baylor is to create a truly residential campus, and we are so pleased that the East Village Residential Community will soon engage a new generation of Baylor students in a significant living-learning residential experience," said Kevin Jackson, Ph.D., vice president for student life at Baylor. "As part of the 21st Century Project, we have gathered tremendous input from students, faculty and staff as we began envisioning this new residential complex. The East Village is a much-needed addition that will make great strides in serving our students by providing more residential space and a new dining hall that will serve the needs of students, faculty and staff. As Baylor begins to develop the east side of campus, the East Village will be the university's signature building. We look forward to breaking ground soon on this exciting project."

The East Village project also includes the construction of a 33,170-square-foot, two-story dining hall, which will accommodate more than 500 students on the east side of campus and include a variety of seating options, including outdoor terrace dining and two private dining rooms, exhibition-style service and space for a retail bakery. The dining hall will be located on a plaza between the East Village residential facilities along Third Street.

The bond issuance approved by Regents also includes $10 million for utility infrastructure improvements to support the development of East Village.

Groundbreaking is expected in January, with construction beginning in March. The new residential community will open to students in August 2013.

Marrs McLean Science Building

Regents also approved $23 million for an extensive renovation of the Marrs McLean Science Building - built in 1964 - to provide more academic space for faculty and students. Once the construction is complete, Marrs McLean will house Baylor's School of Education and its departments of curriculum and instruction, educational psychology and educational administration, which will move from their current locations in Burleson Hall and the Draper Academic Building. The move will unite those departments with the department of health, human performance and recreation, which is housed in the neighboring Marrs McLean Gymnasium. The renovation also will expand space for the departments of anthropology and statistics, which currently are located in the Marrs McLean Science Building, and will include a major update of the building's 350-seat classroom.

"The renovation of the Marrs McLean Science Building will allow us to reclaim valuable academic space for the School of Education and departments of anthropology and statistics," said Elizabeth Davis, Ph.D., executive vice president and provost at Baylor. "This is a very positive development for the School of Education, which will bring its entire faculty together for even greater communication and collaboration. The renovation will allow the School and its departments, as well as anthropology and statistics, to be innovative in their use of space to meet the expanding needs of faculty and students in the 21st century."

Phase 2 of BRIC

As Phase 1 of construction nears completion on the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), Regents approved funding for the next phase of construction. Phase 2 will include building out nearly 45,000 square feet of academic and research space for the following Baylor academic components: Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research (CASPER), electrical engineering department research, the Center for Spatial Research (CSR), Baylor Institute for Air Science (BIAS) and the Hankamer School of Business Innovative Business Accelerator (IBA). Phase 2 construction is expected to begin in early spring 2012 and be completed by spring 2013, although some components could be ready by fall 2012.

"We are excited about the Baylor Board of Regents approving funding for Phase 2 of the BRIC and the timeline it establishes," said Truell Hyde, Ph.D., vice provost for research at Baylor. "This will allow Baylor to build the laboratory space needed for university research. When combined with the build-out of the space for distinguished research scientist Marlan Scully's quantum optics lab, this will provide the critical mass of personnel necessary to continue moving the overall BRIC effort forward."

Phase 2 will bring Baylor's investment in the BRIC to $30 million. Combined with the $9.5 million from the state of Texas, $5 million from McLennan County and the City of Waco and $500,000 from the City of Bellmead, the former General Tire facility will open as the BRIC based on $45 million in combined Baylor, local and state investments in the Central Texas Technology and Research Park.

Strategic Plan Update

In June, the university's Strategic Themes Committee provided a comprehensive report summarizing input from Baylor alumni, faculty, students, staff and others to inform the future development of a new strategic plan. The thoughtful report has helped guide extensive discussion going forward as university leaders have begun the process of drafting the institution's next strategic plan. At their homecoming meeting, Baylor Regents, who have been regularly informed of progress related to the ongoing development of the plan, reviewed the first draft and provided feedback on the plan that will set a course for continued progress at Baylor over the next decade. According to the strategic planning schedule, the draft plan will be released to the Baylor community for feedback from December of this year through March 2012. The strategic plan will be launched at the start of the new fiscal year in June 2012.

"As we have moved forward in our strategic planning, we have been diligent in ensuring that all voices would be heard. The draft that we shared with Baylor Regents during their homecoming meeting reflects the input of thousands of members of the Baylor family who have shared their thoughtful and enthusiastic ideas and aspirations for the future direction of our university," said Baylor President Ken Starr. "I am deeply grateful to all those who have carefully, faithfully and deliberately provided valuable guidance and inspiration to our strategic plan and to Provost Davis, who continues to skillfully guide our planning process."

In the context of deliberations associated with the university's developing strategic plan, the Board of Regents this week also discussed a variety of possible future areas of focus at Baylor including the creation of an arts district and the construction of an on-campus football facility.

Meritorious Achievement Awards

On Thursday night, Baylor Regents honored the recipients of the Baylor Meritorious Achievement Awards at a dinner in their honor held at the Mayborn Museum Complex.

Six individuals and three couples were selected this year as the recipients of accolades, including Baylor Alumnus of the Year, Baylor Young Alumna of the Year, the Baylor Legacy Awards, the Baylor Medal of Service Awards (Pro Texana Medal for Civic Service, Pro Ecclesia Medal for Christian Service, Medal of Service for Business Leadership and Medal of Service for Media Arts) and the traditional Baylor University Founders Medal, which will be presented in the spring of 2012.

The recipients of this year's awards are:

    • Bob Brewton, BBA '74, Alumnus of the Year
    • Dr. Michael Lindsay, BA '94, Young Alumnus of the Year
    • Jim, BBA '58, and Nell Hawkins, Baylor Legacy Award
    • Joe, LLB '49, and Barbara Allbritton, Baylor Legacy Award
    • Rev. Max Lucado, Pro Ecclesia Medal of Service
    • Gov. Mark White, BBA '62, JD '65, Pro Texana Medal of Service
    • Gary Keller, BBA '79, Medal of Service Business Leadership
    • Charles Overby, Medal of Service Media Arts
    • John, BA '50, JD '52, and Marie Chiles, Baylor Founders Medal

Along with receiving their awards at the dinner, the honorees will be recognized on Saturday during the Baylor Homecoming Parade and at the Baylor-Missouri football game.

"It was a privilege to honor these extraordinary individuals, each of whom has made a significant contribution to the glory of God in the earth and to the betterment of Baylor. They inspire us by embodying and living out in such a public manner the mission of Baylor University, which is to be as salt and light in a hurting world," said Neal T. (Buddy) Jones, BA '73, JD '75, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents.

About Baylor

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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