Baylor Announces Major Facilities ProjectFeb. 25, 1998
In a bold move that will help shape the future of Baylor athletics, Baylor president Robert B. Sloan, Jr., and athletic director Tom Stanton announced today the construction of two unified areas that will be the home of Baylor's athletic facilities: the Jim and Julie Turner Riverfront Athletic Park and the Grant Teaff Athletic Complex.
The two areas, the former located along the Brazos River between the Ferrell Center and Baylor Marina, the latter encompassing the area including Floyd Casey Stadium and the Hart¡Patterson Track Complex, are part of a $12.5 million project recently approved by the Baylor Board of Regents.
"This investment in our facilities underscores Baylor's commitment to maintaining a competitive posture in every sport in which it competes. We want to have athletic facilities that are at least on par with other institutions in the Big 12 Conference," Sloan said.
"These are two men (Turner and Teaff)," Stanton said, "of immense character and tremendous loyalty. We are thrilled to be able to honor the two of them today."
Steve Hatchell, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference added, "We are in a mode in intercollegiate athletics today in which you have to stay well equipped to compete. This is a quantum leap for Baylor. It keeps them competitive and in a first¡class arena. This is very significant. It clearly indicates how the athletic department and university feel about upgrading and being as competitive as it can be. It makes an unbelievably significant statement."
The Jim and Julie Turner Riverfront Athletic Park will unify a cluster of venues ¡¡ baseball, softball, soccer, tennis and basketball ¡¡ into what amounts to a park, attractive and appealing in its own right. The complex has been designed to utilize the area's natural beauty, including existing trees, while adding grassy berms and a park¡like atmosphere.
The baseball and softball stadiums themselves will have the look and feel of "old¡time" ball parks while featuring state¡of¡the¡art facilities for lockerrooms, training rooms, workout facilities, concession facilities and playing surfaces.
Over 3,000 baseball fans will have chairback seats available ¡¡ with nearly two¡thirds of them covered by a roof ¡¡ and another 1,000 can be accommodated in bleachers. The stadium is being modeled after several of the newer, top¡rated collegiate baseball stadiums in the country.
The softball stadium will boast 431 chairback seats and another 800 bleacher seats while incorporating many of the same design principles as the baseball stadium. It was modeled after the Little League park adjacent to the Ballpark in Arlington.
The tennis facility will immediately rank as the best in the Big 12 and one of the top five nationally. Six indoor and six outdoor courts will be the focal point, but the overall tennis venue will contain a pro shop, lockerrooms for Baylor's men's and women's teams as well as visiting teams, a training room, a strength and conditioning room and an Athletic Department novelties shop.
The soccer stadium, with seating for 3,000, will have lights for night games and a natural grass playing field with underground irrigation. The current baseball lockerroom, training room and office building will be completely refurbished and transferred over to soccer.
The Grant Teaff Athletic Complex will bring together Floyd Casey Stadium, the Carl and Thelma Casey Athletic Complex, the Hart¡Patterson Track Complex and the entire surrounding area. Paved parking lots, landscaping and a new entrance off Clay Street will enhance the complex's appearance.
The stadium will receive a new pressbox that will include 20¡24 luxury suites seating 12¡20 fans apiece. The suites will feature refrigerators, televisions and catered meals. The pressbox will be cantilevered to the front and back and wings will be added to include an upscale media relations area, new home and visiting coaches booths, new radio and television booths and a consolidated game operations room.
The new pressbox and suites will be supported by new food service, restroom and storage areas. The entire west facade of the stadium will be expanded and the pressbox lobby will be enlarged to alleviate congestion in that area. The extra pressbox space will increase the covered space in the Bears Heights seating area. The stadium bowl will feature a new Sport Grass natural grass surface, which will be ready for the 1998 season.
The Hart¡Patterson Track Complex, which just last year underwent an extensive renovation and expansion to host the Big 12 Championships, will receive new men's and women's lockerrooms.
Also, a new men's and women's golf practice facility will include men's and women's lockerrooms, coaches' offices, a practice range, a covered hitting area and a short¡game practice area at a location to be determined later.