• Give Light projects: Tidwell Bible Building renovation

    Practically every Baylor student over the past 60+ years has taken at least one class in Tidwell Bible Building, home today to the university’s religion and history departments.

    When Baylor announced last fall the launch of “Give Light” — a $1.1 billion fundraising campaign to support the university’s strategic plan, Illuminate — a top-to-bottom renovation of Tidwell was featured among the campaign’s priority capital projects.

    What will that entail? For starters, it’s about bringing the building up to speed to meet the 21st-century needs of Baylor students. When Tidwell opened in 1954, it served a campus of roughly 6,000 students; today, Baylor has grown to welcome more than 14,000 undergraduates — and virtually all of those are required to take religion and/or history classes in Tidwell. Updating (and creating flexibility in) classrooms, adding faculty offices, and freeing up additional space in the building will help the facility better serve future generations of Baylor students.

    Some of that space will come from a reuse of the current Miller Chapel space. After serving as the primary chapel on campus for decades, today Miller Chapel is seldom used, as many other sacred spaces have sprung up across campus. The existing space will be repurposed — as you can see in the video below, an ingenious design will incorporate the existing stained glass windows and allow the space to be better utilized for classrooms and other uses — and a new worship space on the sixth floor will provide a breathtaking view of campus.

    Plans call for new office and work spaces on every floor, the creation of 13 new classrooms of varying sizes, plus space for seminar rooms, resource libraries, and other needs. A new elevator will allow better use of Tidwell’s fifth and sixth floors, which are currently only accessible via stairways, and new common spaces will offer students places to study and hang out before and after classes.

    “The Tidwell Bible Building is an icon here at Baylor University,” says Dr. Lee Nordt, dean of Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences. “We’re doing this for the faculty and the staff and the students of two very important departments who are at the core of so much of what we do in Arts and Sciences, and so much of what they do on behalf of Baylor. Because every student walks through the hallways at some point, we want it to be an effective facility for cutting-edge teaching. We want there to be space available for students to interact in, and we want our faculty and our graduate students to be in optimal position to teach and to produce great scholarship. When it’s completed, Tidwell will be ready to serve many new generations of Baylor students.”

    The next step, of course, is fundraising. Once fundraising brings in the estimated $20 million needed, plans will be made to take Tidwell offline, with a goal of completing the project within 12-18 months so that students can begin benefitting from the new space.

    Want to help make this renovation a reality? Contact the Office of Advancement at 1-800-229-5678, option 4, to discuss opportunities to support construction.

    Sic ’em, Bears!

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    Baylor launches ‘Give Light,’ a $1.1 billion fundraising effort to support BU students & programs (Nov. 2018)