Baylor School unveils new Scotty Probasco Academic Center [photos]

Baylor School unveils new Scotty Probasco Academic Center [photos]

September 19th, 2018 by Meghan Mangrum in Breaking News

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Ryan Crimmins, the chair of the Baylor School Trustee Buildings and Grounds Committee, speaks during the dedication of the Scotty Probasco Academic Center Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The academic center will house history and English classes for grades 9-12, as well as the learning center.

Updated at 8:29 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018.

Gallery: Scotty Probasco Academic Center

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Baylor School leaders dedicated on Wednesday the campus' new $14 million academic center, named for late alumnus Scott L. "Scotty" Probasco Jr.

local businessman and philanthropist, Probasco was a graduate of the class of 1946 and served as a trustee emeritus for the school until his death in 2015.

"Outside of his family and the Lord, he loved this place more than anything," said his widow, Betty Rowland Probasco. "I feel like he's here with us."

The new center is part of the school's more than $50 million capital campaign, Forever Forward — the largest in its 125-year history. Also dedicated Wednesday was a $1.1 million renovation to the campus' quad, named the Bullard Family Quadrangle in honor of 1981 graduate Bob Bullard and his family, who funded the project.

Scott L. "Scotty" Probasco Jr.

Scott L. "Scotty" Probasco Jr.

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

"The Scotty Probasco Academic Center represents a bold statement for the future of our core academic mission at Baylor," said Chris Crimmins, chairman of Baylor's Board of Trustees and graduate of the class of 1980. "The placement and design of the building represent years of research and planning to deliver an academic building that would be a national model for teaching and learning.

"We wanted to build upon Scotty Probasco's legacy of leadership and project it forward for future generations of Baylor students and faculty," Crimmins said.

The 33,852-square-foot academic building will open for classes later this fall and house most of the history and English department classes for grades 9-12 as well as the learning center, which provides one-on-one tutoring for all students.

Scotty Probasco remained devoted to his alma mater throughout his life. He gave extensively to the Forever Forward campaign and designated gifts through his estate to Baylor.

"He was a true philanthropist for Baylor," said Matt Lewis, chief advancement officer and graduate of the class of 1974, in a statement. "He put Baylor and his church first as giving priorities and became the ultimate example of unconditional love for an institution."

One of Scotty Probasco's sons, Ben Probasco, said his father would reenact the school's hallmark cheer "Give me a 'B', give me an "A' "

"If Dad loved something, he would pour himself into it," he said. "This was a dream of his — turning this campus into something bigger and better."

The renovations for the Bullard Family Quadrangle, which began in May, were completed just in time for the new school year. The space was formerly used for military formations when the school was an all-male, military institution, but has been been converted into a landscaped, green space.

"The new quadrangle fulfills a long-held vision to create a beautiful green space in the heart of campus that will enhance the Baylor experience for everyone in the community, especially our boarding students who call Baylor 'home' 10 months a year," said school headmaster Scott Wilson.

Wilson, who has served at the school for a decade, said the unveiling Wednesday was a celebration.

"Today we are celebrating dreams that have come true," he said. "And the families and individuals that made it possible."

Scotty Probasco, a third-generation Chattanooga native, went on to Dartmouth College and the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania after graduating from Baylor. He came home to the Scenic City to run the American National Bank, which his grandfather founded.

The bank was later sold to the Third National Bank of Nashville, which in turn merged with SunTrust Bank of Atlanta, but Scotty Probasco remained as chairman of the executive committee of SunTrust in Chattanooga until his retirement.

Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at mmangrum@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.