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Baylor closer to on-campus stadium

Baylor has taken the next step in building a new on-campus stadium.

The school received the biggest gift in university history for Baylor's football stadium alongside the Brazos River by Interstate 35, according to a release Tuesday.

Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Jr. gave the gift for an amount unspecified by the school, but it's the first step toward the fundraising necessary for a stadium Baylor hopes will open for the 2014 season.

"We believe strongly in the University's distinct and important role as a Christian institution dedicated to academic excellence at the highest level," said McLane, who owned the Houston Astros from 1992 to 2011.

The school released several additional artist renderings of the stadium to go along with the announcement.

"We recognize that we are living in a remarkable time in the history of Baylor athletics, and we are blessed to have loyal, courageous and generous friends in Elizabeth and Drayton McLane, and their family, who have stepped forward to encourage all of us to take hold of a rare opportunity for our football program," Baylor president Ken Starr said in the release. "Their significant leadership gift will secure Baylor's position among the nation's elite collegiate athletics programs, while providing our alumni, students and student-athletes a game-day experience like none other in Baylor history."

The stadium would seat 45,000 fans and could expand to 55,000. With its position near the highway, it would be visible to 42 million drivers annually, the school said.

"The vision shown by both the McLane family and our University leadership will ensure continued success for our football program," coach Art Briles said in a statement. "I look forward to leading the Bears out of the tunnel and onto the field of the new Baylor Stadium."

Baylor currently plays at Floyd Casey Stadium, located south and across Interstate 35 from the school's Waco, Texas campus.