UMHB breaks ground on new stadium
Monday, 20 February 2012 by Tanner Clarke
Last Friday marked the beginning of a long road of growth and development for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. The groundbreaking ceremony for a new 10,000 capacity stadium and connected state-of-the-art student union building brought in trustees, alumni and spectators from all across the country.
"This is going to be a magnificent complex," President Randy O'Rear said in a speech to all who attended. "It will redefine our campus community."
The groundbreaking took place on what will be the new 50 yard line of the stadium. Speeches were given by the President, the Vice President for Student Life, representatives from the student body and football team, the head coach and a prayer given by the chair of the Board of Trustees.
Excitement filled the air as students and alumni alike closely listened to every word spoken about the new complex.
"I'm most excited for the unplanned part of student life that will go on there," Kristy Brischke Director of Transition Programs said. "There are a lot of areas for students to do their own activities and a lot of places to also recruit new students."
In his speech, O'Rear mentioned a few areas included in the new student building including: resident dining, a grill, sports hall, Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, social areas, bookstore, offices, a new band hall, meeting areas and a banquet hall.
Vice President for Student Life Byron Weathersbee said that these meeting areas are a "unifying source that brings students together."
"Students greatly benefit when they connect," he said.
Older students were also present at the groundbreaking to help commemorate the beginning of buildings they will never get to enjoy as students.
"I'm excited that the future students get to enjoy it," junior Anna Payne said, "It is part of history because it's the largest building project and building in UMHB history. I might not be here to enjoy the changes but I get to be a part of the beginning."
The stadium is a greatly appreciated change for all students but it directly affects the football team the most.
"This will be a great indicator of our campus pride," Javicz Jones, the representative of the football team said in his speech. "We work really hard throughout the year . . . and we do it for the love of the game. This means a lot to us."
When the football program started in 1998 it was hard to see a future of this football team.
"We had no fields, no helmets, no footballs, nothing. Only a dream," coach Pete Fredenburg said. "We will do our best to make Crusader football a sense of pride for all of us."
After years of planning, this building project is finally started with an expected completion date of Fall 2013.
"We are writing a new chapter today," O'Rear said, "It's a wonderful day in the life of the university. In a year-and-a-half, the campus will be unrecognizable. It's going to transform."
Junior Caitlin Hiett said it best while addressing the crowed in her speech representing the student body when she said, "This is not just my school, this is my home."
The upcoming years will be exciting for the students and the surrounding community to see the growth of the UMHB campus. Students are filled with many emotions over this big upgrade to campus but the most prominent is gratitude to the administration.
"Thank you for daring to dream," Hiett said.