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The Ferrell Center, home to Baylor's basketball and volleyball programs for more than 20 years, continues to undergo upgrades to maintain its standard as one of the region's finest facilities. The improvements have given the Bears the type of arena necessary to compete in the Big 12 Conference.
The most recent upgrade to the Ferrell Center is the construction of the Lt. Jack Whetsel Jr. Practice Facility. The 42,990 square-foot addition includes the Hawkins practice courts, the Getterman Office Suites for the coaching staffs, and Gray's Gym, named by R.T. Gray in memory of his son, R.B. Gray. Other improvements include the Hall of Honor entry, the Stone Reception Room VIP area, as well as upgrades to the training room, media room and visiting locker room. The $8 million Whetsel Practice Facility was dedicated on September 8, 2006. Previous upgrades to the Ferrell Center have included: new state-of-the-art locker rooms in 2004; a new hardwood maple playing surface in 2002; and the addition of six new scoreboards and two new 8x10 video replay screens in 2002.
Built in 1988 at a cost of $12.5 million, the gold-domed Ferrell Center is located on a 14-acre tract on the corner of University Parks Drive and Texas Highway 6 (LaSalle Avenue).
Capacity for basketball events is 10,284 and 6,000 for volleyball matches, while conventions, concerts, graduation exercises and convocations can seat 12,000.
The Ferrell Center is named in memory of Charles Robert Ferrell, who died in 1967 during his sophomore year at Baylor. The arena is named in honor of Paul J. Meyer Sr., of Waco.
A major portion of the construction cost was provided by the estate of the late Mr. and Mrs. Monroe Ferrell of Houston, in memory of their son. Monroe Ferrell, a 1938 graduate of Baylor, operated a concrete pipe business in Houston until his death in December 1981, seven years after the death of his wife.
Other significant contributions came from Paul J. Meyer Sr., Emil H. Meyerhoff and the late J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla. Meyer is founder and chairman of the board of Success Motivation International, Inc., and of the Eureka Corporation. The Meyerhoff estate, through the auspices of executor Bill Patterson of McAllen, provided the University with a large gift.
Groundbreaking for the Ferrell Center was held July 1, 1987, and a women's basketball game between BU and Southwest Texas State on Nov. 25, 1988, was the first sporting event held. The first men's basketball game was Nov. 29, 1988, a loss to San Diego State.
The height of the facility is 111 feet, and the dome covers three acres and weighs 175 tons. Lighting capacity on the floor is 150-foot candles. The arena is designed with 42-tiered levels of seats, including nine rows of retractable seats at courtside. Banquet accommodations can be arranged for 1,000 people on the main floor.
The lower level of the building houses some of the finest basketball locker rooms in the country. Customized wooden cabinet lockers have been built for both the men's and women's locker rooms. Also, on the lower level are visiting team locker rooms, coaches' and officials dressing rooms, a warming kitchen, media room, interview room and general storage.
The Ferrell Center has been the site of Dallas Mavericks exhibition games, and the facility has also hosted the Mavericks' and Phoenix Suns' training camps. Former President Ronald Reagan spoke to a Republican political rally in the first event held under the golden dome in 1988.
| EVENTS HOSTED
From the north, drive south on I-35, take University Parks Drive exit and turn east (left) to intersection of University Parks and LaSalle.
From the south, drive north on I-35, take University Parks Drive exit and turn east (right) to intersection of University Parks and LaSalle.
From the west, drive east on Hwy. 84 to Hwy. 6/Loop 340. Turn east (right) and take Hwy. 6/Loop 340 to I-35. Turn north (left) on I-35, take the University Parks Drive exit and turn east (right) to intersection of University Parks and LaSalle.
From the east, drive west on Hwy. 84 to I-35. Turn south on I-35 (left), take the University Parks Drive exit and turn east (left) to intersection of University Parks and LaSalle.
From the northwest, take Hwy. 6 to I-35. Turn north (left), take the University Parks Drive exit and turn east (right) to intersection of University Parks and LaSalle.
From the southwest, take Hwy. 6 to Bus. 77 exit. Bus 77 become LaSalle and leads directly to the Ferrell Center.