As the new home for the men’s and women’s basketball programs at Baylor University, Foster Pavilion needed to showcase the teams’ championship history and create a dynamic fan experience to elevate the space.

Baylor aimed to capture the intimacy and familiarity of a traditional athletic “fieldhouse” but with a modern, upscale feel that conveyed the action, energy, and culture of both their programs. In addition to the 7,000-seat arena, the facility includes a state-of-the-art performance center for men’s and women’s teams with separate practice courts, dedicated locker rooms, team lounges, offices, and strength and conditioning rooms.

Instilling Baylor Pride at Every Turn

Comprising nearly a quarter million square feet, the total facility exudes Baylor pride from virtually every corner.

Working closely with AECOM’s architects and engineers, the Jack Porter team infused the Baylor brand throughout the facility’s high-impact, high-traffic spaces: the arena lobby, concourse, premium spaces, student entry, development center, shared team areas, and player operations.

Even before fans enter the arena, they can see the gleaming BU logo — with LED color-changing capabilities — beckoning them like a beacon from behind the massive glass entrance. Once inside, they’re greeted with a soaring, multi-story lobby that gives a modern but industrial vibe.

The concourse spaces that carry spectators around the arena feature vibrant “now displays” that are adaptable for any event, fan-interactive content, and secondary storytelling opportunities. Wing wall displays highlight the evolution of the iconic Baylor bear mascot, bringing the school’s history to life.

Each concourse has unique wall-size graphics, large brand marks, and visual cues highlighting Baylor basketball achievements and providing additional wayfinding. No two are the same, giving fans something new to discover each time they return. The scale gives a sense of permanence and substance that fits the overall flow and activates the space even before fans reach the interior arena itself.

Premium spaces give a nod to the Waco area, like the massive, monochrome topographical map denoting the school’s proximity and connection to the Brazos River. And in the Sideline Club, a seating area features repurposed wooden bleachers and flooring from the school’s previous facility, providing a nostalgic, quiet area for relaxing and socializing.

(Rendering) On the concourse, areas are designated for both a men’s and women’s hall of champions, highlighting each programs storied history.
Large brand moments act as placemaking as you move through the concourse.

Creating a Special Place for Players to Connect

As the heart and soul of the Baylor basketball program, players and coaches needed facilities that gave them everything required to perform at their very best: camaraderie, inspiration, pride, motivation, support.

Those elements are captured in everything from player lounges, locker rooms, and team meeting areas to corridors with dynamic lighting and graphics commemorating past championships. An LED wall spans the length of the baseline on the practice court creating a sense of excitement, energy and urgency.

Even the entry to the facility’s office space brings the Baylor spirit to the forefront with large-scale, bold brand identifiers (colors, jerseys, graphics). You know you’re entering the world of Baylor basketball when you arrive.

A Transformative Project for a Historic Program

Baylor University sought a basketball facility that honored the program’s storied history while looking toward the future and providing an exceptional fan experience.

The project broke ground on May 2, 2022, and the inaugural men’s and women’s games were played on January 2 and 3, 2024, where reactions were overwhelmingly positive.

“I thought the atmosphere was everything and more that we wanted and certainly hoped for — and maybe even anticipated,” said Baylor VP and Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades. “The one thing that I hope is when fans left tonight, they felt energy and they felt the energy for the entire game. And I think that happened.”

Added Baylor coach Scott Drew: “We waited a long time to have a home-court advantage like this, and this is everything you dream of.”