Laneys on hand to break ground for activities center

PLAINVIEW – Backdropped by waving Wayland Baptist University flags, employees, community leaders and friends gathered Monday for the official groundbreaking of the Pete and Nelda Laney Student Activities Center, held on the lot where the center will soon stand, just east of Hutcherson Center.

The brief ceremony was opened with a welcome from Betty Donaldson, vice president for institutional advancement and invocation by Dr. Vernon Stokes, chairman of Wayland’s Board of Trustees. Dr. Paul Armes, university president, then spoke briefly about the activities center and announced the presentation of a $70,000 check from the James and Eva Mayer Foundation as the final installment of their $300,000 pledge to the project.

Armes explained that the Mayer Foundation trustees – David Wilder, Paul Lyle and Gene Owen – had included a letter saying they were waiving the initial stipulation that the foundation grant be matched by grants from other entities in order to be received. Armes also said the student lounge in the facility will be named for the Mayers in recognition of the gift.

The Laneys were on hand, along with several family members, to help turn the dirt for the project named in their honor.

“We are deeply honored that Wayland has chosen to name this facility for us,” Pete Laney said. “This is more of an honor to us because it comes from a university that Nelda and I have respected and admired for some time.”

Laney spoke about the project’s importance in relation to student life and recreation and encouraged the community’s support.

“Our community benefits from a thriving and growing university,” he said. “We need to continue to support this university. Education is not only for the students but it’s the best economic development project in the state.”

Doing the honors in the actual breaking of ground were the Laneys, Dr. Armes, Dr. Stokes, Dr. Claude Lusk, vice president for enrollment management, and Zach Crook, president of Wayland’s Student Government Association. Emmitt Tipton, dean of students, closed with a benedictory prayer. A reception was held in the Mabee Learning Resources Center atrium following the ceremony.

Construction on the 50,000 square foot facility is set to begin immediately, with completion expected in 9-12 months. The activities center will feature a double gymnasium, weight room and aerobics area, classrooms, a student lounge and a climbing wall.