As thousands of Baylor University alumni flock to campus for homecoming weekend to remember life’s building blocks instilled in them there, a recent graduate is donating his own building blocks to the school in the form of an intricate Lego-constructed model of Pat Neff Hall.
An off-and-on work-in-progress since 22-year-old Stanton Bain was a sophomore at Baylor, Bain took his scale model of the iconic university building to the Moody Memorial Library on Friday, where it will be on display during homecoming weekend.
After this weekend, the model, which Bain designed and constructed from 8,300 Lego pieces, will be displayed at Baylor’s Mayborn Museum.
Bain’s detailed Lego model already was attracting quite a bit of attention by Friday afternoon from students and library visitors, said Erik Swanson, Baylor libraries exhibits curator and coordinator.
Swanson said he thinks homecoming weekend is the perfect time to display the model to complement another exhibit commemorating the library’s 50th anniversary.
“The attention to detail is outstanding,” Swanson said. “Stanton really did his due diligence. It is very impressive, and we are glad to have it here for homecoming weekend.”
Bain, a Waco High School graduate who earned a degree in corporate communications and business administration from Baylor in December, used a software program called Lego Digital Design to design the project on his laptop. But he had to wait a bit for friends, family and church members to donate $750 of the $1,000 cost before he could order the pieces he needed on a website that Bain described as “essentially eBay for Lego items.”
“I tried to keep everything specific to the Lego company because their pieces are so mathematically precise and I built the model on software that uses Lego pieces,” Bain said. “That was through a process of sitting around the building and not exactly measuring everything, but measuring the windows, because if I can figure out what scale I want to build it at, I can then figure out how many windows wide this part of the building is or how many floors it is.”
Bain built the model, which is 23½ inches tall, on a base 36 inches wide. It is as close to scale as he could make it given the limitations of the Lego pieces and the size of the display case at Moody Memorial Library, he said.
Bain even included green and gold Lego flowers, a water faucet in front of the building and the phrases etched into the upper portion of the building, including “Wisdom is better than rubies” and “The preservers of history are as heroic as its makers.” The bells in the clock tower actually are made from cone-shaped Lego rocket pieces that Bain touched up with a bit of silver spray paint.
Although he was a full-time student during the formation of the project, Bain said he dedicated a couple of hours a week to sitting around the building, taking photos and notes and trying to understand the shape and general design.
Once the Lego parts arrived, Bain estimates the actual building process took from 18 to 24 hours.
Bain posted his laptop design of the building on Instagram and Facebook, and the images attracted the attention of a Baylor official who asked if he could post it on a Baylor department website. The official told Bain that once he built it, Baylor might want to display it “in real life,” Bain said.
“I’m perfectly fine with donating this to Baylor,” Bain said. “I would do this all over again if somebody asked me to.”
Maybe a Lego replica of McLane Stadium is in Bain’s future. Who knows?
“I would love for it to be a permanent display and would love to have more people ask me to do things like this for them of a similar scale and design,” he said.
Bain’s signature is on the model along with a miniature Lego person that bears a striking resemblance to him. The miniature Stanton Lego has traveled with him across Texas, to Nevada and California, and has gone on sojourns with Bain’s friends to Jamaica, Brazil, Russia, Germany and England.