Crusader Stadium at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor will open on September 21. In anticipation of the opening, we spoke with Dr. Randy O’Rear, President of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, about the stadium, design process, and what it will mean for…
CHALLENGE. The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, an NCAA Division III institution, initially explored the addition of the on-campus football stadium when it was incorporated as part of a 2011 campus master plan. For more than a decade, university leadership, operations and athletics had discussed the importance of a state-of-the-art facility to the ultimate success of their football program. With the ultimate goal of transforming the student-life experience and unifying campus, the university began working with Populous in 2011. Populous completed a masterplan for UMHB prior to developing the designs and explored the idea of combining the student union building and the stadium to create an athletic facility that would truly become the heart of campus.
INNOVATION. The stadium serves as an integral key to creating a “student activity zone” on campus, a primary and long-term goal of university leaders and an innovative solution to join various portions of campus through one new facility. Located adjacent to residence halls, apartments, intramural fields, Mayborn Campus Center (the University’s arena) and a new student union, the stadium needed to meld with the campus’ existing architecture and reflect the strategic goals of the university by bringing together various, disconnected components of campus in the vicinity of the stadium. The design incorporates UMHB branding throughout, and the student union building, located just behind the visitors’ section, features an iconic stone and glass façade that will create a landmark building on campus.
After 15 years of playing on a nearby high school field, the 7,671-seat stadium and adjoining student union building have been crucial components to recruiting elite talent and continuing to develop the school’s football program. It has also provided the team with something they’ve never had before- a true home-field advantage. In addition, the incorporation of a unique blend of premium seating options and amenities tailored to Crusader fans ensures that the stadium will remain viable and successful for decades to come and a true community asset for Belton, TX.
IMPACT. When the stadium opened in 2013, it represented a landmark project for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and one of the finest NCAA Division III facilities for one of the most successful football programs in the nation. It has joined together a campus by merging student life and college football in one facility, creating new traditions and supporting Christian life at UMHB.