Baylor Fall Preparations: New campus structures

August 4, 2020
Founders Mall Tent

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

As we continue to diligently prepare for a safe and successful on-campus start and completion of Baylor University’s fall semester, I’d like to offer some additional details about what you can expect when you return to our Waco campus.

While no single precautionary measure can independently mitigate COVID-19, we believe a layering of preventive strategies will offer our campus community the best opportunity to safely resume in-person teaching, learning and residential life for the upcoming semester. The key to making this happen, however, will be the full cooperation of all of our students, faculty, staff and guests.

Yesterday, I outlined the cleaning and sanitization measures that we are implementing on our campus, with best practices and technological investments that follow the most stringent guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health authorities.

Today, I’d like to share an extraordinary addition to our campus-wide effort to maintain social distancing while creating safe opportunities for our students to have a Baylor-quality educational experience this fall.

We have partnered with Peerless Events & Tents, an industry-leading event and tent production company, to install 16 premium, fully equipped portable structures in eight strategic locations across campus, complete with linoleum flooring and HVAC to add a total of 43,640 square feet of usable space for our students. Ranging in size from 30 feet by 40 feet up to 60 feet by 115 feet, the tent structures will allow us some flexibility in a number of potential congestion points across campus, alleviating some of the social distancing concerns in these high-traffic areas.

The tent locations include:

  • Fountain Mall – six tents offering seating for a total of 444 students;
  • Penland Dining Hall – one tent that will accommodate up to 204 students;
  • Brooks Dining Hall – one tent that will accommodate up to 88 students;
  • Memorial Dining Hall – two tents that will accommodate a total of 168 students;
  • East Village Dining Hall – one tent that will accommodate up to 144 students;
  • McCrary Music Hall – one open-air tent for vocal and instrumental practice space;
  • Baylor Law School – one tent that will accommodate up to 56 students and another tent that will be used as mock courtroom spaces; and
  • Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center (BANC) – two tents that will accommodate a total of 72 student-athletes.

Each tent location serves a unique purpose in helping us provide a successful and safe fall semester, with the Fountain Mall tents primarily dedicated to our students and allowing ample space for studying and other academic pursuits. The dining hall and BANC locations provide overflow dining opportunities, with dedicated cleaning crews assigned to each tent to ensure a clean and safe environment. These will be the only tents that allow food or drink inside.

The School of Music’s open-air tent will allow our vocal students the opportunity to safely practice in small groups, while the Law School will transform its tents into outdoor mock courtroom space.

With some of the tents already being erected across campus, students will benefit from features that include:

  • Climate-controlled with cooling and heating capabilities to offer a comfortable environment;
  • Wi-Fi access in non-dining academic tents to allow high-speed internet access, creating easily accessible study spaces for students in between classes;
  • Solid walls and doors to protect from the heat, cold and weather;
  • Socially distanced tables that limit the tents’ total occupants, while allowing for groups of four to comfortably and safely interact, study and fellowship together;
  • Clear vinyl partition walls and 4-way plexiglass table partitions strategically placed throughout the tents to offer additional protective barriers between tables in potential high-traffic areas;
  • LED lighting to create an effective learning environment and gathering place, day or night;

Students, faculty and student organizations will have the ability to reserve limited tent space by submitting an online form through Baylor’s Institutional Events.

As we previously discussed, your COVID-19 test kits will begin arriving over the next two weeks to your home or designated address. As a reminder, it is imperative that you take the test as soon as you receive it and return the sample back the same day it arrives, after verifying the UPS drop point is open before testing.

With our August 24 start of the fall semester rapidly approaching, let’s all contribute to our community well-being by wearing face coverings, washing our hands and skipping large gatherings or groups.

Praying for you daily,

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.