WACO — Construction of Baylor's new football stadium is on schedule. By August, the letters to spell "McLane Stadium" won't be on the ground stacked on palettes like they were Wednesday, and the $260 million project will be complete.
"Those that have been coming to Floyd-Casey for years, this is something they haven't experienced," said Brian Nicholson, Baylor's vice president for facilities. "In fact, this has amenities that most college venues don't have."
The timing of the stadium's opening couldn't be better. The Baylor football program is as good as it's ever been. The Bears won a school record 11 games last year, and have gone to four straight bowl — a first in program history.
Baylor deputy athletic director Todd Patulski says it wouldn't be possible without financial support.
"When you get things like this going and you have the momentum, people want to jump on board, and especially your donors," he said. "A lot of them have been there for you through thick and thin, but a lot of them have been able to step up and make this a reality."
Maybe the signature element of this stadium is the shade canopy, added at a cost of $20 million. It will ring the top of the stadium and provide shade for the fans in the highest seats.
"The shade canopy, you don't see that everywhere," said Jim Heley, senior project manager for Austin-Flintco. "It's a nice cap to the whole stadium; it's a nice element. It fits in well with the rest of the design."
The first game that will be played in the new stadium won't even involve the home team. It will be a high school game between Aledo and Cedar Park. That game will be August 29; Baylor's first game here will be against SMU on August 31.