Portion of record $100M BU donation will go toward new basketball arena

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Baylor University will use a portion of a record $100 million donation to help fund a new basketball arena, the school announced Tuesday.

A rendering of the Baylor Basketball Pavilion. (Baylor University)

“Baylor Athletics is thrilled to announce a lead gift for the Baylor Basketball Pavilion,” the university said in a tweet just after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

"This new facility will be made possible thanks to recently publicized $100 million anonymous gift as a part of Baylor University’s Give Light Campaign."

In a subsequent press release, Athletic Director Mack Rhoades said with the lead gift in place, Baylor is in a position to secure additional funding and proceed with a formal plan for design and construction.

“Today is an exciting day for Baylor Athletics," he said.

"We are incredibly grateful to this Baylor Family, their vision and their generosity in enabling this incredible concept to come to life on our campus,” Rhoades said.

“This marks a tremendous step forward in our effort to create the nation’s best home-court advantage for each of our 19 intercollegiate sport programs.”

The pavilion, with a projected capacity of 7,000 to 7,500, will be built on the south side of the Brazos River between the Baylor Ballpark and the Ferrell Center at an estimated cost of $105 million.

The men's and women's basketball programs would move into the new arena and the Ferrell Center would be renovated to accommodate the school's volleyball and acrobatics and tumbling programs.

Baylor announced the donation to the university’s $1.1 billion Give Light campaign over the weekend and said a large part of the money would be used to create a matching fund for the Baylor Academic Challenge, which aims at maximizing the school’s investments in promising research and academic programs.

Baylor President Linda Livingstone announced the record gift, whose donor asked to remain anonymous, on Saturday in Houston.
"We are deeply grateful to these members of the Baylor Family whose spirit of generosity and undying love for Baylor and its Christian mission will galvanize support from others who will come alongside and invest in Baylor, our strategic priorities under Illuminate and our faculty and students in areas of greatest need and significant impact,” she said in a press release Saturday.

Baylor launched the Give Light Campaign in November and to date the university has raised $692 million.

Donations have funded 17 endowed faculty chairs and professorships, 411 scholarships and 129 funds for growth priorities, the university said.