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Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Baylor Basketball Teams Continue Winning, New Arena Announced


Baylor Bears basketball team. | Image from NCAA

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Baylor University is amidst an excellent era for its basketball programs.

The men’s team is the current defending national champions. Last season, they finished with an impressive record 28-2 record en route to the program’s first-ever championship, winning over Gonzaga in the title game.

The team entered this season ranked No.8 in the Associated Press Top 25 rankings. Now they hold a perfect 10-0 record and have been ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation the last two weeks. Since 2010, the team has made three appearances in the national tournament’s quarterfinal round.

The woman’s team at Baylor University has enjoyed loads of recent success. The Lady Bears won national championships in 2012 and 2019, posting a perfect 40-0 record in 2012 and a 37-1 record in 2019. Last season, the team finished with a 28-3 record and lost in the national tournament quarterfinals to the No. 1 seed UConn.

The Lady Bears hold a 9-2 record this season and are ranked No. 10 in the latest AP Top 25. Overall, the Lady Bears have clinched a spot in the national tournament every season since 2003. They made at least the quarterfinal round in ten of those years and won three national championships (2004, 2012, 2019).

Now, the Baylor basketball program will receive an even more considerable boost. This week the university announced a partnership with the city of Waco to construct a new $185 million arena that will serve as the school’s basketball arena and a concert venue.

The Waco City Council approved an agreement that sees the city providing $65 million of the total cost to build the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion. The city’s contribution will come from the Tax Increment Financing Zone, which funds downtown improvements through the growth of local property tax revenue in the zone.

Baylor expects almost all of its contributions to be covered by donors. The Foster family, which the Pavilion will be named after, has pledged $75 million for the construction cost.

Construction crews will break ground on the Foster Pavilion in June, with the expected completion date of January 2024.

The arena will seat 7,000 fans and include coaches’ offices and a development center for the men’s and women’s teams.

The teams have been playing their games at the Ferrell Center since 1988. An original plan saw the new arena being built next to the Ferrell Center along the Brazos River. Instead, the Foster Pavilion will sit about one mile up the Brazos River, opposite Baylor football’s McLane Stadium along I-35.

Along with the new arena, construction crews will rebuild the surrounding areas to be more pedestrian-friendly.

Baylor President Linda Livingstone expects the arena’s location to intertwine the City of Waco with Baylor University more deeply.

“I think historically I-35 has been a huge barrier between Baylor and the city,” she told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “The I-35 construction is going to help a lot with that as we improve access underneath and across the freeway. And when we start partnering and building out across that space, I think it will really reduce that as a barrier and make it feel more like we’re all part of the same community.”

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