How big a deal is Baylor Stadium for the university and the football program? A media tour of the construction site yesterday drew dozens of reporters and news crews from Waco and beyond who wanted to see how the Bears’ new home is progressing.
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Construction company representatives and Baylor officials agreed: Work is coming along quite nicely, thank you. The outer shell of the stadium (which you can easily see while driving down I-35) should be complete by August or September, with the larger pieces inside cast and in place by the end of the year. Construction of the Umphrey pedestrian bridge across the Brazos River will begin later this summer, and the project is on track to be ready for the Bears’ 2014 home opener less than 500 days from now.
Visting the construction site, my first impression was just how close Baylor Stadium felt to campus. The law school right across the river feels practically next door — as close as, say, Moody Library to the SUB. (Check out this 360-degree video of the stadium and campus, taken from about where the new scoreboard will be, to get a feel for yourself.) I can’t wait until we get to experience game day on campus.
A few other notes from Tuesday’s event: President Ken Starr announced that $100 million has now been raised in private support for the stadium, and that number will continue to rise as club seats go on sale June 1 and additional gifts come in. All premium seating so far (Founders Suites, Premium Suites and Loge Boxes) have sold out, and a waiting list is growing, while 1,500 new season tickets have been sold for 2013 in anticipation of the new stadium a year later. More than 1,400 Stadium Bricks have also been sold to adorn a plaza outside the stadium.
(Click the image at right for an interesting comparison of Floyd Casey Stadium and Baylor Stadium.)
Sic ’em, Baylor Stadium!