McLane Stadium stands boldly on the banks of the Brazos, greeting 43 million motorists traveling Interstate 35 each year. A dream of Baylor University, its students, and alumni for generations, the new stadium would mean the school’s athletic facilities would all be on campus for the first time in more than 60 years.
While the Stadium site offered many favorable factors in terms of location and aesthetics, it presented momentous challenges. The site lies below the floodplain and consists of problematic alluvial sandy soils, which behave like quick sand. Major overhead electrical transmission lines traversed the site, and a massive 54-inch diameter sanitary sewer line bisected the football field beneath the future 50 yard line. Additionally, State and Federal environmental permitting was required in order to perform construction along an official Water of the United States. McLane Stadium would be the first Division I college stadium built within the last five years and many skeptics believed that it could not be completed within such a demanding time line.
Walker Partners familiarity with the local soil conditions allowed us to mobilize swiftly and methodically. The groundwater elevation is essentially the same as the water surface elevation of the River, and a tremendous amount of construction had to take place below the elevation of the River. Notably, the large diameter sanitary sewer, owned by the Waco Metropolitan Area Regional Sewer System (WMARSS), had to be relocated to allow for the Stadium construction. Walker Partners initiated an overall site dewatering program and a sanitary sewer relocation project while architects began designing the stadium.
Next on the critical path was to design a stormwater pumping system to accommodate the Architect’s vision of having the football field below the ground elevation – three feet below the 100-year floodplain. Walker Partners responded with an innovative solution whereby all stormwater runoff from up to a 10-year flood event would be conveyed to the River by a traditional gravity storm sewer system, while the larger floods are pumped into the River by a way of a 24 million gallon per day pump station, protecting the playing surface from flooding. Additionally, the wet well for the facility was fitted with vertical axial flow pumps, allowing for extreme efficiency, while also having an ability to pass solids which may float into the wet well from the stadium facilities. Electrical costs for these operations were lowered by using solid-state starters and high-efficient pumps.
As a result of Walker Partners’ strategic planning and impeccable execution, the football team kicked off in its new home on schedule! Walker Partners provided the leadership necessary to collaborate with over 25 consulting teams to affect the “right” design solutions that are aesthetically pleasing, environmentally sustainable, technologically advanced, and economically feasible. Not only was Walker Partners instrumental in implementing dewatering and utility relocations ahead of schedule so that the building construction could begin and end on schedule, but did so without a single change order!
Walker Partners’ design expertise was validated when on Friday, October 23, 2015, Waco received up to 11.33 inches of rain in 24 hours – the largest rainfall event on record and one that exceeds the 100-year storm! Walker Partners’ innovative stormwater pumping and drainage system allowed the Baylor Bears to defeat Iowa State at home the very next day.
Building a football stadium on campus had been a dream for Baylor University, its students and alumni for generations. However, the picturesque location on the Brazos River presented momentous challenges. An innovative stormwater pumping and drainage system allowed the dream to come true.
completion date: 2014
location: waco, tx