WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor is moving forward with plans to build a new basketball facility on the banks of Brazos River after a $100 million gift to the university.
Athletic director Mack Rhoades said Tuesday that a portion of the sum from an anonymous donor to a university-wide campaign will provide a significant lead gift for the Baylor Basketball Pavilion. Baylor can now work to secure additional funding and approvals needed to design and build the fieldhouse with an arena of at least 7,000 seats and practice facilities.
There was no immediate timetable provided for the new facility. The Ferrell Center has been the school's basketball home for the past 31 seasons.
Baylor's women won their third national championship last month. The Baylor men went to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in 12 years.
"The Ferrell Center has housed some great moments in Lady Bear history and we look forward to creating new memories in our new arena," said Kim Mulkey, the AP national women's basketball coach of the year.
The largest gift in university history was made to the $1.1 billion Give Light campaign. The basketball facility, expected to cost about $105 million, is a signature project in the athletics master plan portion of that campaign.
The pavilion will be built on the south side of the Brazos River between Baylor Ballpark, the school's baseball stadium, and the Ferrell Center.
"This is a game-changer for our program," men's basketball coach Scott Drew said. "There's nothing more impactful than a new arena, especially one that brings our fans closer to the action."
Once the basketball teams move into the new pavilion, the Ferrell Center will undergo significant improvements to meet the practice and competition needs of Baylor's volleyball and acrobatics and tumbling programs.