• Hurd Welcome Center will have something for Bears of all ages

    Exterior of Hurd Welcome Center, nearing completion

    This fall, Baylor’s new Mark & Paula Hurd Welcome Center is set to open as a new “front door” to the Baylor campus. Located at the intersection of I-35 and University Parks Drive, the Center — generously funded by a gift from Mark (BBA ’79) and Paula Hurd — will be an obvious first stop for anyone visiting campus.

    But it’s not just for prospective students; current students, alumni, and faculty/staff will also find a home at the Hurd. Here are just some of the ways the new facility will serve the Baylor Family:

    * Alumni — Whether you’re in town for a special event like Homecoming or just stopping by as you travel I-35, the Welcome Center will be the place to begin your visit. An expanded Baylor Spirit Shop will be the new go-to for BU gear, with easy, convenient parking, an expanded Nike Team Shop, and more. The Hurd will also host the McLane Family Alumni Center, the Baylor Alumni office, and alumni events. And you’ll definitely want to stop by on game days/weekends — both before Baylor football games at McLane across the river, and before basketball games at the new Foster Pavilion down the street — for tailgate activities both indoors and out.

    * Current students — The Hurd will offer current Bears a new place to gather with friends, whether that’s at the Varsity Coffee Shop inside (serving Peet’s Coffee), in one of the building’s open spaces or flexible meeting rooms, or outside on the terrace (similar to the SUB Bowl). The facility will also be able to host a variety of student events that today often have to find space off-campus.

    * Faculty/Staff — As Baylor has grown, the need for more space to host academic activities — departmental events, lectures, etc. — has also grown. Barfield Drawing Room, Cashion’s Fifth Floor, and other similar spaces often book up quickly; the new welcome center will help address that need, as a place to host both big events and smaller gatherings. Academic conferences, for instance, can remain on campus instead of having to head downtown to the Convention Center, utilizing the Hurd’s 1,000-seat ballroom and available breakout rooms.

    * Prospective students — This is the easy one. The Hurd Welcome Center will serve as the home for Baylor’s Undergraduate Admissions office, and will welcome visiting high school students (and transfers) considering BU with a high-tech, interactive experience. It will also be the place from which campus tours begin — the perfect introduction to the Baylor experience.

    The building will slowly open over the summer, as various departments move in and the coffee shop and spirit shop begin to serve visitors. The grand opening is slated for Sept. 8, with festivities to include a student event featuring a concert by rising country music star Bailey Zimmerman, whose new album just became the most-streamed debut country album ever. Stay tuned for more on the opening event and all that will greet visitors as we get closer to the Center’s opening.

    Sic ’em, Hurd Welcome Center!