WACO (March 13, 2012)—Baylor announced Tuesday that Temple businessman Drayton McLane, Jr. and his wife Elizabeth have made the largest capital donation in university history for construction of a new on-campus football stadium.
If fundraising goes as hoped, the stadium could be completed in time for the first home game in 2014.
Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said the family didn't want the
amount to be disclosed, but she confirmed that it was more than the $20 million donated by three Baylor law graduates in 1998 to build a new law school.
McLane had been considered a likely source for the lead donation for the new facility since November when he sold the Houston Astros, which he had owned since 1992, to a group of Houston investors for $610 million.
“As a family, we wanted to do something that would shine a light on the University we love, while enhancing student life at Baylor and impacting positively the city of Waco and Central Texas,” said McLane, a 1958 Baylor graduate whose sons Denton and Drayton III are also Baylor graduates.
“This is an incredible time to be a Baylor Bear and all the McLane family is excited to part of the momentum that is leading Baylor to new heights,” he said.
Baylor President Ken Starr said the McLane family’s donation “will secure Baylor’s position among the nation’s elite collegiate athletic programs, while providing our alumni, students and student-athletes a game-day experience like none other in Baylor history.”
Baylor Board of Regents Chairman Buddy Jones called it “a very exciting day for the Baylor nation.”
In a text message to News 10, Jones said McLane’s donation “means we have our lead gift so we are going forward in raising the remaining sum.”
“And once we have raised our target amount, which the generosity of the McLane family has given us a very big head start on, we will turn dirt and build an on-campus stadium,” Jones said.
The facility will be called Baylor Stadium at McLane’s request, Jones said.
The price tag for the facility could be as high as $250 million, some sources have said.
The stadium architecture firm Populous has been hired to develop a master plan for the stadium, the preferred site for which is along the Brazos River next to Interstate 35 across from the Highers Athletics Complex.
Plans for the stadium on the 93-acre site along the interstate call for 45,000 seats with the flexibility to expand to 55,000, canopy shading, suites, loge boxes, indoor and outdoor club seating and an event center and Stadium Club for year-round use, the university said.
A bridge would cross the Brazos River, connecting the facility to the main campus.
“The vision shown by both the McLane family and our University leadership will ensure continued success for our football program. I look forward to leading the Bears out of the tunnel and onto the field of the new Baylor Stadium,” head football coach Art Briles said.
Baylor is the only school in the Big 12 that doesn't have an on-campus stadium.
The Bears have played at Floyd Casey Stadium off South Valley Mills Drive since 1950.
Before that, games were played at Waco Municipal Stadium on Dutton Avenue.
There hasn't been a field on the campus since the 1930s.