Give Light projects: An expanded Memorial & Alexander for the Honors Residential College
Last fall, Baylor announced the launch of “Give Light” — a $1.1 billion fundraising campaign to support the university’s strategic plan, Illuminate. Among the campaign’s planned capital projects is a $50 million renovation/expansion of Memorial and Alexander halls, home to Baylor’s Honors Residential College.
What will that entail? First off, the project includes a complete renovation of Memorial (opened in 1930) and Alexander (opened in 1941), along the same lines of the updates many of Baylor’s traditional residence halls (Penland, North Russell, South Russell, and Martin) have experienced since 2013.
But the biggest part of the project will be an expanded central location for Honors College faculty and staff, who are currently scattered across campus: Morrison Hall, the Baylor Sciences Building, Brooks, and other locations. The new space, designed to fit nicely with the existing buildings’ classical look, will include office suites, classrooms, study spaces and more, all aimed at better serving students and faculty. Among the benefits: increased student-faculty interaction, which will allow for better mentoring relationships, and increased interaction among faculty of diverse disciplines, which should lead to better collaboration on research and other projects. [Get a look at the first renderings of the project in this video.]
They’ll create that space in two ways. Most notably, it will come by building up from the current dining hall that sits between Alexander and Memorial, adding floors above to create additional square footage. The renovation process will also make available some spaces (like Alexander’s basement and Memorial’s fourth floor) that have become unusable over the years, bringing them back online to serve current and future students.
One bonus of the plan: Memorial Chapel, which was renovated a decade ago (thanks to generous support from the Getterman and Robbins families) with beautiful stained glass and hardwood floors and pews, will now be far more accessible to students via the new central shared space created between the two buildings.
“I’m excited about the people proximity that this creates,” says outgoing Honors College Dean Thomas Hibbs, who was named president of the University of Dallas last month. “So many really good things happen if you just put good people in the same spot, and they bump into one another and talk about things, and ideas come. … And the opportunity for us to do something big and bold in the historic center of campus — we are really grateful for the opportunity to do this in that part of Baylor’s historic campus.”
The next step, of course, is fundraising. Once fundraising is complete, plans will be made to take Memorial/Alexander offline for a year so the renovation and construction can begin, with the goal of completing the project within a single school year 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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* Give Light projects: Football operations center (April 2019)
* Give Light projects: New basketball fieldhouse (March 2019)
* Give Light projects: Tidwell Bible Building renovation (March 2019)
* Give Light projects: Hurds’ lead gift paves the way for new Baylor welcome center along I-35 (Nov. 2018)
* Baylor launches ‘Give Light,’ a $1.1 billion fundraising effort to support BU students & programs (Nov. 2018)