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Baylor prepares to awe recruits with nearly complete McLane Stadium

Baylor prepares to awe recruits with nearly complete McLane Stadium

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McLane Stadium is beginning to look the way Baylor University officials want its teenage football prospects to see it.

With the project an estimated 97 percent complete, crews are working on the finishing touches, including some calculated to awe recruits even before the first game day Aug. 31.

A 7,500-square-foot oval locker room has 120 wood lockers finished in cherry-wood veneer, with an enormous, lighted “BU” logo descending from the soaring ceiling. Around the corner is a “recruiting room” with picture windows affording an upclose, turf-level view of the game.

Inside, recruits will be able to watch giant-screen videos of past Baylor Bears glories, chow down at the snack bar or even play an Xbox if they crave more sensory overload.

“We think it’s pretty spectacular,” associate athletic director Todd Patulski said, standing in the parakeet-green room during a tour Wednesday. “The recruiting game is competitive, and you’re bringing in 17- and 18-year-old kids who want to be impressed. This is certainly going to accomplish that. . . . You basically manage their entire experience.”

Compared with the 1950-era Floyd Casey Stadium, the new $260 million McLane Stadium is a quantum leap in gee-whiz. Patulski said that as rival colleges have built or renovated their stadiums, Baylor recruiters in the last decade often have declined to even take their recruits to Floyd Casey, or took them at night.

In the past year, recruiters already have been using McLane Stadium as a selling point in videos and tours.

Stadium project officials Wednesday pointed out the cantilevered shade canopy around the stadium and the sinuous pedestrian bridge over the Brazos River as visual highlights of the project.

Fans will be able to see instant replays not only on a colossal video screen but also on their smartphones, thanks to special apps and a wireless network that Baylor will provide.

“There’s nothing we’ve done here that hasn’t blown me away,” said Brian Nicholson, vice president for facilities and operations. “This truly will be the finest college stadium in the country.”

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