Laney Activities Center set for dedication Feb. 17

Release Date: February 8, 2008

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University’s current slogan is “Seek your Dream,” and after nearly a decade of planning, fundraising and prayer, another dream is now a reality.

The Pete & Nelda Laney Student Activities Center was completed just before the Christmas holidays and is set to be dedicated formally on Sunday, Feb. 17, in an afternoon ceremony outside the new facility. The event is planned from 2-4 p.m., with the ribbon cutting at 2:30 p.m., followed by tours, a reception and recognition of major donors. The event is open to the public.

The facility is located on the west side of the campus between Hutcherson Center and Owen Hall, a 50,000-square foot structure with stately columns mirroring the look of other buildings on campus and recent updates to the facades, including Harral Auditorium, Hutcherson Center and Van Howeling Education Complex.

Inside, the Laney Center is as spectacular as the exterior. The glass doors open to a wide foyer, which then opens to the James & Eva Mayer Student Lounge, complete with offices and a reception desk, pool tables, chairs and tables for the snack bar area and a large projection television for student entertainment.

The lower level also includes the massive Wayne Evans Gymnasium, a regulation size basketball gym, also a double gymnasium, with fold-up bleacher seating, electronic scoreboards and ping-pong tables. Full locker rooms with showers and dressing areas for men and women are also featured on the lower level.

Upstairs, the elevated indoor running track circles the gym, bordered by several classrooms that will be used for physical education courses, and the cardiac/strength center with treadmills, elliptical machines, Nautilus weight machines, rowers and a 25-foot climbing wall. An aerobics room with wood floors will accommodate Pilates, yoga and aerobics classes being offered at Wayland.

“We feel like it will be a first-rate facility for our students. The vision for this building really began ten years ago when Dr. Bill Hardage pulled a few of us together and said this is what our vision should be for a building for our students,” said Dr. Greg Feris, athletic director and building administrator. “We recognized at that time that Hutcherson Center, though a marvelous athletic venue, really didn’t have what we’d like for our students in the way of recreational activities and intramurals.”

The facility is ADA accessible with an elevator as well as two sets of stairs to the upper level. The floor covering in the cardiac/strength center and indoor track is a rubber composite that cushions the foot during the high impact of exercise.

The Laney Center is named in honor of James E. “Pete” and Nelda Laney of Hale Center. Mr. Laney served as the Texas state representative for the Plainview area for 34 years and was Speaker of the House in Texas for five terms. A former school teacher, Mrs. Laney has been an active volunteer in the area and in Austin, working with the Rainbow Room and other causes. She was co-chair of the Capitol Fund Drive and served as vice-chair of the Texas Capitol Restoration Celebration. She raised millions of dollars for the preservation of the Capitol through custom-made ornaments for Keep Texas Beautiful. She has since created many more ornaments for other organizations and causes.

Both of the Laneys received bachelor’s degrees from Texas Tech University in 1965, he in agriculture, she in education. Tech honored the couple with the Lauro Cavazos Award in October 2007, presented to individuals who have made a positive impact on the university through accomplishments or giving. In addition, the City of Plainview honored the couple in July 2007 with a plaque on the Walk of Fame outside the Fair Theatre as part of its centennial celebration.