Make sure you check out the upstairs. There’s so much potential for that space.” These are some of the final words Craig Cunningham (‘08) said to me before I stepped into the role of editor-in-chief of Baylor Line Magazine. He gave no deeper explanation. Confused, I asked for the keys to this “upstairs” on my first day and – to say the least – it was not what I expected. The space looked more like the opening scene of an NCIS episode than something with “potential.”
The home for Baylor Line Foundation is a tricky subject. We all know what unfortunately became of the Hughes-Dillard Center and after that our offices had bounced around a bit, ultimately landing in St. Charles Place. Conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Waco, our suite was great. Enough office space for the staff, a central conference area, lots of storage, and the ability to holler around the corner for any answer you needed from a colleague. We were comfortable. So, my first response to seeing “upstairs” was confusion. What did we need this expansive, incomplete, extra space for?
I studied the gutted rooms – careful to avoid low-hanging wires and what I was convinced would be a murderer around the corner (or Craig in a gorilla costume, playing an elaborate practical joke) – and went back downstairs to Allen with questions. He listened patiently, a smirk forming in the corner of his mouth. Then, he presented me with a grand vision:
- We’ve got what we need for the current moment, Allen said. But what about the future? He described gatherings of the Baylor Family like we’d not been able to offer in a decade, all under the roof of Baylor Line Foundation. No rented venues, no makeshift setups. A space that was home.
- Plus, there’s an ever-increasing demand for content, more and more of it digital. In our current setup, we just didn’t have the ability to expand in that area.
- Imagine hosting board and executive committee meetings here one day, he said, and then a crowd coming over to watch a Baylor basketball the next evening. He envisioned modular furniture, allowing for many types of events.
- Of course, there’s also just the presentation aspect. We can make a space that shines – one that continues the legacy of provides a home for the Baylor Family.
As I listened, it was like I could physically see the opportunity, future, and impact of Baylor Line Foundation growing. I was on-board and ready to begin busting down walls and quickly hosting events in this new home.
Unfortunately, life had other plans.
About the time our renovations were completed, COVID-19 took the world into lockdown. As furniture orders came in, we felt more and more remorse there was no one to fill the seats. As we expanded our AV equipment, we were excited by the innovation, but saddened over having to connect with the Baylor Family virtually, instead of in-person.
Finally, though, this spring has allowed for small gatherings – an open house and even a board meeting. Plus, I’m now able to have interviews in-person with many of my podcast guests. Slowly, our vision has become a reality. So, until you can finally tour the Baylor Family’s new home yourself, I’d like to give you a little peak behind the scenes and tell you about what the space holds.
Downstairs, we have a five-office suite with a communal area – including a TV and several uber comfy chairs for our guests – and a conference room. We also have a small, renovated breakroom. The ground floor is fairly standard for an office suite. We’ve saved the magic for upstairs.
The second floor office and event space has a special name, in honor of the center where we once all gathered with and celebrated the Baylor Family. The Hughes-Dillard Legacy Suite has so much in store for Bears now and for generations to come, including:
- Four staff offices
- A beautiful, massive event venue – when not hosting gatherings, this space is a mix between a living room and a co-working space
- Dedicated meeting space around a large conference table and modular furniture to offer almost any type of in-person gathering
- A specially equipped AV technology and broadcast studio, where we can deliver even more great content and virtual events
We cannot wait to have you over and begin some awesome stories together. Most importantly, though, we’re excited there’s finally a place for the Baylor Family to, again, call home. See you soon!