University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

ARCHIVE: Construction company and groundbreaking announced for stadium and student union

January 25, 2012
Football Stadium and Student Union Building
Football Stadium and Student Union Building

Belton, Texas--The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor announced today that Turner Construction Company has been hired to build the new football stadium and student union building planned for the Belton campus.   Turner will construct the 8,000-10,000 capacity stadium simultaneously with the student union building, which will anchor the visitors’ side of the stadium.

Founded in 1902, Turner is a recognized leader in the construction field, with Texas regional offices in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.  The company has a long history in sports facility construction, beginning in 1909 with the company’s first major sports project, the Promenade for Harvard Stadium.  Turner has since provided services for numerous professional and collegiate stadiums, ballparks, and arenas.  Among their more notable projects have been Madison Square Garden (both the original construction and the recent renovation), the redevelopment of Soldier Field in Chicago, and the construction of the new Yankee Stadium.  During 2010, Turner completed $7.4 billion of construction worldwide, with more than $400 million in Texas. 

“We are excited to partner with the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor on this project,” says Gary Birdsall, vice president of Turner Construction Company.   “The stadium and the student union building offer us the opportunity to utilize both our sports and higher education experience and provide the university with first-class facilities.”

Turner is the second prominent firm to be associated with the UMHB project; in March of last year, the university hired the architectural firm Populous to design the new stadium complex.   The Populous name is well known in sports circles as the designer of prominent, award-winning stadiums, arenas, and ballparks.  As the concept developed to construct the stadium as an interlocking component with the student union building, the university asked Populous to design the three-story student union as well as the stadium.

Lead architect for the UMHB project has been Earl Santee, AIA, whose portfolio of projects includes the new Yankee Stadium, Target Field in Minneapolis, Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, the Mile High Stadium renovation in Denver, Nelson Wolff Stadium in San Antonio, and new ballparks for the universities of North Carolina and South Carolina.   Santee became involved in the UMHB project through discussions with a friend of the university, Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane, Jr., who worked with Santee on the creation of Minute Maid Park and other projects over the last 15 years.

The new stadium and student union building will be built near the center of the campus on University Drive, adjacent to the Frank and Sue Mayborn Campus Center.   By locating the complex near the Mayborn Center (which houses the university’s arena) and nearby intramural fields, the university will create a “student activity zone” surrounded by student residence halls and apartments.  

“Our goal,” said President Randy O’Rear, “is to encourage students to become involved in many facets of campus life by placing these activity areas within easy walking distance of where our students live.   We know that students who become involved in campus life are more likely to persist in their studies and graduate; we want our campus to be a place where our students are involved both in and out of the classroom in activities that help them learn and grow as we prepare them for successful lives of leadership and service.”

The combined cost of the student union building and the football stadium is expected to be more than $50 million.   The timeline for the project calls for the complex to be completed by fall 2013.

A groundbreaking ceremony to kick off construction of the new complex will be held on Friday, February 3 at 1:00 p.m.  UMHB trustees and representatives from Turner Construction and Populous will gather with students, faculty, staff, and friends from the local communities to break ground on the lower parking lot south of the Frank and Sue Mayborn Campus Center on University Drive; the public is invited to attend.