Baylor's McLane Student Life Center To Become Media Hub For President's Economic Forum

  • News Photo 459
    The 24,000-square-foot gym in the McLane Student Life Center begins its transformation into a working newsroom.
  • News Photo 458
    Baylor students hang a BU banner from the SLC track over the media work area.
  • News Photo 456
    Workers spruce up the grounds outside the McLane Student Life Center.
  • News Photo 454
    Baylor's SLC staff unveil a new podium that will be used for media briefings at the SLC.
  • News Photo 453
    The Baylor Seal engraved in the new wood podium.
  • News Photo 457
    SLC windows get a last-minute shine.
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    Jones Concert Hall, the site of the wrap-up session of the President's Economic Forum, is modified to handle press risers.
Aug. 9, 2002

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University's McLane Student Life Center is undergoing a transformation this weekend as the university prepares to host hundreds of media who will be on campus Aug. 13 to cover the President's Economic Forum.

President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, several Cabinet secretaries, business leaders and others will be at Baylor discussing the fundamentals of the economy and the President's agenda to increase economic growth for the future.

With such a high-profile guest list, the university will play host to more than 400 print, radio and television journalists from throughout Texas, the U.S. and the world, who will file their stories from a working newsroom and filing center set up in Baylor's 156,000-square-foot student recreation center. Several national news networks, including CNBC, MSNBC and CNN-FN, plan to broadcast live Monday and Tuesday on special sets constructed in the atrium of the SLC, while many more have scheduled live broadcasts Tuesday morning from a press platform set up in the SLC's four-court, 24,000-square-foot gymnasium.

It's not the first time Baylor has played host to the media for a presidential visit.

In November, Baylor was home to State Department officials and more than 200 members of the international media as the historic meeting between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin took place only a few miles away at the president's ranch in Crawford.

Radio, television and print media from Russia, Germany, Japan, China, Great Britain, the Middle East and Latin America, as well as U.S. media outlets not members of the White House press corps, were based in a media center set up in the SLC gym. At that time, reporters who travel regularly with President Bush worked out of a separate facility in Crawford. During the President's Economic Forum at Baylor, the White House press corps will use the SLC filing center.

The President's Economic Forum at Baylor will include breakout sessions at Baylor Law School where participants will discuss such key economic issues as economic recovery and job creation, corporate responsibility, small investors and retirement security, small business and regulatory relief, education and workers, trade and agriculture, technology and innovation, and health care. Journalists will be able to watch those sessions via a live closed-circuit broadcast provided by Waco public television station KWBU-TV.

Baylor University President Robert B. Sloan Jr. will participate in the breakout sessions and moderate the wrap-up session. Other Baylor participants include Dr. Terry S. Maness, dean of Baylor's Hankamer School of Business; Dr. Joseph A. McKinney, professor of economics and The Ben H. Williams Professor of International Economics; Dr. Reagan M. Ramsower, dean of libraries and Baylor's chief information officer; Dr. William R. Reichenstein, professor finance and The Pat and Thomas R. Powers Chair of Investment Management; Dr. Tom Kelly, professor of economics and director of the Center for Business and Economic Research; and Dr. James W. Henderson, The Ben H. Williams Professor of Economics. Baylor MBA students Neil Luft, Ken Jones and Jim Regan will be among several students from throughout the U.S. who will discuss the state of today's economy with government and business leaders.

The final wrap-up session will be held in Mary Gibbs Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building.

To prepare for the President's arrival, Baylor has spruced up the campus grounds and buildings. The university also has provided facilities, phone lines and networking capabilities for White House staffers and the media, and has assembled a group of more than 50 volunteers from Baylor faculty, staff and students who will be assigned various duties next week by the White House.

"It is a privilege and honor for Baylor to serve as host for President Bush's Economic Forum," President Sloan said. "It is a great opportunity for our faculty and students to be involved in such a high-profile and important event and to participate in discussions about ways to stimulate our country's economy."

Forum participants and media also won't miss the unprecedented construction activity on the Baylor campus, a major initiative of Baylor 2012, the university's recently adopted 10-year vision. Baylor has three major projects under construction along University Parks Drive:

•the $103 million, 500,000-square-foot Baylor Sciences Building, the largest building project in Baylor's 157-year history;

•the 95,000-square-foot Harry and Anna Jeanes Discovery Center, the centerpiece of the Mayborn Museum Complex;

•and the Dutton Street Parking and Office Facility, which will add an additional 30,000 square feet of office space for Baylor academic, information technology and other administrative departments and room for 1,200 cars.

The Baylor Sciences Building and Discovery Center are expected to be completed by fall 2004. The Dutton Street facility will open in fall 2003.

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