With the start of the new school year came the reopening of one of the most beloved buildings on campus: Tidwell Bible Building, which had been closed since May 2020 for an extensive renovation.
The work on the 67-year-old building — one of the priority capital projects of Baylor’s “Give Light” campaign — was completed ahead of schedule. In addition to improving infrastructure, the renovation of Tidwell’s 57,000 square feet dramatically expanded and enhanced areas devoted to academic instruction, faculty offices and community building. (See inside for yourself.)
The updates combine the benefits of a new facility with countless reminders of Tidwell’s history. For instance: visitors walking into the building’s Eula Mae and John Baugh Foyer will immediately recognize the ornate ceilings, marble entryway, even the old pews turned into guest seating. Many of the quatrefoils from Miller Chapel have been incorporated into design elements throughout the building, and designers found an ingenious way to preserve the chapel’s stained glass windows even as the space was converted into a two-story area for faculty offices. (Before new chapels such as Elliston, Robbins, Powell, McCall and Memorial were built on campus, Miller Chapel served for decades as the primary chapel on campus.)
The renovation brought much-needed updates to classroom, office and study/meeting spaces throughout Tidwell, from decor and furniture to technology and accessibility. (For instance: The elevator is not only larger, but now goes all the way to the sixth floor!) Other updates include additional space for graduate students, a Mother’s Room for nursing moms, and an overall better use of space across all floors.
Originally dedicated in 1954, Tidwell Bible Building has served virtually every Baylor student over the past seven decades as a home to classes in religion, philosophy, history, sociology, nursing, modern foreign language and sacred music. (Today, it houses the religion, history and sociology departments.) The building was named in honor of Baylor professor Josiah Blake Tidwell, who taught Scriptures classes for 36 years and founded the current Department of Religion in 1910, and with its 68 carved limestone panels tells the story of the Bible in an exterior panorama that encircles the building twice.
Thank you to the The Sunderland Foundation, the late Barbara “Babs” Nell Baugh and The Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation for their gifts that fueled the completion of this project — an effort that will serve students for generations to come.
Sic ’em, Tidwell Bible Building!