Sept. 29, 1999
WACO, Texas -
By Kristine Mansour
Baylor's commitment to excellence in athletics by constructing new athletic
facilities will help shape the school's athletic fortunes for decades to come.
The additions to Floyd
Casey stadium and the new soccer stadium were completed by the first home
games of this season while work on the Jim and Julie Turner Athletic Park
is still underway with over a year of construction and a full baseball
season under its belt.
Within the past two years, a sense of urgency to improve Baylor's sports venues has been
felt across campus. Because President Sloan felt Baylor was ready to build
"facilities to match [its] commitment," Athletic Director Tom Stanton proposed in early 1998
the most in-depth athletic facility project in the school's history.
project involved constructing several facilities including a baseball/softball
complex, a new soccer field, new tennis courts, and luxury box additions
to the football stadium. The projects, which had an estimated cost of $27
million, was approved by the Baylor Board of Regents on February 2, 1998.
At the first home game of the football season, Baylor enjoyed the fruits
of its labor. The Dave Campbell Media Center and sky boxes gave a new
meaning to Baylor football: luxurious.
Maxey Parrish, Director of Internet Services for the Baylor Athletic Department, reflects on the new press box in comparison to
the old facility. "It's beautiful . . .very luxurious and posh. The view
is great. The old press box was functional but quite plain. The new working area is first class in every regard."
Dave Campbell, a Baylor gradute who has spent over 50 years as one of the country's top sportswriters,
is very pleased with the new facility that is named in his honor. "Baylor
did an outstanding job putting together this media center. This press
box is very meaningful to me...it provides a resting spot for many of my
The first home game at the new soccer stadium also proved to be a huge
success. The stadium held record-breaking 1,352 spectators, the largest
number in attendance at a women's soccer game in Baylor's history.
soccer coach Nick Cowell is very proud of the new facility. He feels that
the location and size of the stadium makes it "a spectacular place to play
Aside from these completed athletic facilities, the Jim and Julie Athletic
Park continues to move ahead. This project includes the completed soccer stadium,
a baseball/softball complex that is currently in its final stages of completion, and future tennis
Jim Turner, a major donor to the project, was a former Baylor
athlete and currently is the chairman of Dr Pepper Bottling of Texas. "It has
meant so much in our lives and our children's lives" to be able to give
back to the school, says Turner. "We're so excited about the direction
that Baylor's headed today and all the positive things that are going on.
We're honored to be a small part of that."
When will Baylor complete these projects? Assistant athletic director
of operations Tom Hill is heavily involved with the construction of these
athletic facilities. He reports that both the baseball and softball complex
will be completed by the start of their regular seasons. Currently, finishing
the exterior and adding concessions are the only loose ends left on both
facilities. Ground will be broken soon for the new tennis courts.
Baylor officials predict positive results to come from these projects.
Athletically speaking, Sloan predicted improved facilities will translate into more Bear win. Coach Cowell and Baylor softball coach Paula Young both
agree that the new facilities will help in recruiting and promoting the
university's athletic programs.
Jim Huey, a fund-raiser in the
athletic development, feels that the new facilities will attract new fans.
Jim Trego, the associate athletic director for Baylor, hopes the new facilities
will be "a showplace. It's something people will be able to enjoy for
the next 70 years."