February 3 marked the ground breaking for the new UMHB football stadium. It was a day that many alumni, students, faculty and staff had anticipated.
However, the stadium would never have been a reality if it hadn’t been for the generous donations given to the university. The largest gift for the stadium came from one family, who have been important supporters of the university.
“The McLane family has been our greatest champions for making this dream come true for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor,” President of the university Randy O’Rear said.
When the football program at UMHB started in 1998, Drayton and Elizabeth McLane donated a gift in order for the team to be able to buy the needed uniforms and equipment for the season.
“I am a firm believer in universities having nice stadiums in the center of the campus,” Drayton McLane said. “I noticed that not as many students went to the games (at Tiger Field), and I think the new stadium will engage more people and attract adults from the Central Texas area.”
Not only have the McLanes donated financial help; they have also been generous in other ways to the university.
“The McLanes are great friends to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and have been involved in other ways throughout the years like the McLane Lectures and giving of their time and encouragement,” O’Rear said. “They have an interest in the university and place importance on Christian values.”
The stadium will have the capacity of 8,000-10,000 people and will cost an estimated $50 million. This is included in the $100 million new master plan that also includes other projects like the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Building and Baugh Center for the Visual Arts which will be completed in 2013. Cummins Field House, another of the projects, was completed last year.
Since the McLane family donated the most money toward the funding of the stadium, they were granted the right to choose the name. It will be called Crusader Stadium.
The McLanes also donated the largest single gift in the history of Baylor University for the building of that school’s new football stadium. McLane is a 1958 alumnus of Baylor and knows the importance a college education.
“I am a firm believer of Christian higher education and the influence of Christian principles,” he said. “It is so important to the future of America.”
The new Baylor football stadium will be called Baylor Stadium as chosen by the McLane family. When the stadium is finished around 2014, it will be the first time since 1949 that Baylor has had an on campus football field.
Members of the UMHB football team are grateful for the generous donations of the McLanes.
“It’s a blessing for all the support of the stadium. Words cannot explain how we feel about the McLane family and how much they have done for this school,” junior linebacker and sport management major Javicz Jones said. “It’s great to know we have such amazing people to help out in everything that this school needs.”
Not only will the stadium be used for football games, but for numerous events and everyday life of students.
“It will transform student life year round for the campus including football game days with students, fans and players,” O’Rear said. “Students will be able to come study, socialize and have community with the new building in the heart of the campus.”
Along with the football stadium, a new student union building will be built that the university’s website says will hold an “array of opportunities for students to interact and to grow in leadership, service and faith-informed discernment.”
It will also include a new bookstore, post office, places for students to gather to study, recreation and areas for student organizations.
“The stadium will allow students to fill up the stands every game day because it will be within walking distance of everyone,” Jones said. “It will also enable students to have a great ‘hangout’ place where inside the student union building they will enjoy many events, not to mention the Starbucks and Chick-fil-A. The stadium will have a huge impact and will attract people from everywhere.”