Effects of McLane stadium far outreach Baylor campus - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Effects of McLane stadium far outreach Baylor campus

A day nearly five years in the making is nearing, but preparations to build McLane stadium doesn't just involve Baylor fans.

Officials say the new stadium on the Brazos river of Baylor University's campus is a monumental projects. The stadium stands out by I-35 as a monument for Baylor. However, it's not just something that has to do with Baylor. The city and the surrounding area will be affected when game days hit. 

"Anytime that you're going to bring 50,000 people into a relatively small, concentrated area, I think you want to be prepared," Waco Utilities Director Joe Bernosky said. 

One of the biggest preparations is traffic, but Bernosky and the city utilities are also working to prepare for games. That includes what happens at halftime. 

"What they did is they got a lot of volunteers in there to start flushing all the fixtures, start turning all the faucets on and seeing what happens," Bernosky said.

Bernosky called that the "Big Flush." He says it was needed to make sure the city could handle the demand of water the stadium would use, especially during half-time. He says the system worked perfectly, but the test was needed to make sure. 

That's one of several preparations the city is doing to make sure Baylor's first game goes smoothly. It's something drivers on the nearby interstate don't normally think about. Bernosky says another thing that goes into the stadium is how to drain storm water. He says the parking lot and stadium is a large area that can get thousands of gallons of water when it rains. He says they've made sure the storm water drains properly and does not carry waste into the Brazos river. 

Another thing some people don't think about when going to a game is security. Well, maybe the security guards and police come to mind, but not all the preparations and manpower it takes to cover the stadium. Emergency management coordinator for the city Frank Patterson says there's been a lot of work to keep people safe at the stadium. 

That includes where to put police, EMS and fire personnel all throughout the surrounding area. Patterson will be set up in a suite at the new stadium. Patterson has covered every Baylor home game for the past five years at Floyd Casey but says McLane brings a set of new challenges. 

"So we're going to have more pedestrian foot traffic, that's obviously going to be a different challenge, it's on the river so there's a whole new challenge there with boating and things of that nature," Patterson said. 

Patterson and the city Parks and Recreation department both say there's going to be a large presence of personnel on the river. 

"We will, Texas Parks and Wildlife will be on the river as well as our park rangers, making sure everyone's safe, everybody following regulations," parks and recreation communications Jonathan Cook said. 

Cook says they will also be putting up temporary lights and signs on the river walk to help the flow of pedestrian traffic. The city is expecting a lot more people walking to the stadium from downtown or the surrounding area. 

All of this effort that doesn't even take into account what's next to the stadium: Interstate 35. Traffic is a big issue going forward. However, city officials don't yet know how it's all going to pan out. So they're putting up a camera on top of a nearby building to watch what happens. 

"For the security people to be able to monitor traffic on I-35, we're going to record that whole 10 hours worth of stuff so they can study the traffic, the flow going in and out," city spokesperson Larry Holze said. 

Holze says once people understand how and when to get to the games, the home game traffic will go that much smoother. However, even with all these plans, city officials say they're using the first game as a learning experience.    

"Because again the best laid plans is just a plan, when you put it into action, you put it into play you might see some things you might need to tweak," Patterson said. 

The city has spent millions and thousands of man hours to make this stadium happen. However, the city says it's worth it.        

"Just the reality of what's going to happen for Waco. The excitement of downtown, the changes that are already going on the proposed changes, it's a multiplier effect. I think even great economists are having a hard time estimating," Holze said. 

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