Baylor University will demolish two apartment complexes it owns on South Second and Third streets, creating 8.4 acres of green space, the school announced Friday after the Baylor Board of Regents approved the move during its quarterly meeting.
Regents also committed to fund Baylor’s student food pantry for the next year and received updates on President Linda Livingstone’s academic plan, “Illuminate,” which relies on a $1.1 billion fundraising campaign and a significant increase in research activity.
The apartment complexes, Cottonwood and Baylor Plaza I and II, were built in the late 1970s and will be closed after the spring semester, according to a Baylor press release. The buildings are in need of repairs that could have cost up to $7 million, and occupancy has declined, officials said.
Residents have been informed of the plan and offered a $250 moving credit and assistance to choose another Baylor-owned property, according to the press release. Demolition is planned this summer.
Faculty members have submitted 26 proposals in the first round of project solicitations for Livingstone’s academic plan, according to the press release.
“They range from small seed-funding internal grants to suggestions for new institutes, centers or multi-year cluster hire programs to provide partnerships across specific research interests or disciplines,” it states.
Livingstone has said the plan will involve balancing research goals with Baylor’s Christian mission.
“We talked about how that mission plays out in terms of academics, faculty hiring, in terms of our student experience, in terms of how we’re thinking about diversity and our campus, a lot of talk about our mission and how we live that out on a daily basis,” she said during a press conference after the regents meeting.
Baylor has raised $21.5 million since it publicly launched its fundraising campaign in November, bringing the total raised to $563.3 million, officials said.
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Baylor’s food pantry, known as The Store, opened in December 2017 as a response to research revealing the prevalence of food insecurity among college students nationwide.
“At Baylor, researchers have estimated that between 15 percent to 20 percent of students are food insecure, meaning they do not have reliable access to nutritious food,” the press release states. “For at-risk populations such as first-generation, transfer or international students, the research showed that more than 92 percent had experienced at least some level of food insecurity.”
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Livingstone said the university could appoint a new provost within the next week. Baylor is looking for a long-term commitment from its next provost after facing several years of transition in the office of the chief academic officer.