Jerry Fawcett, whose work included Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas, and Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif., died May 29 in Dallas.
Texan made mark in colleges and baseball, the sport that held his heart
Jerry Fawcett, a sports architect Texas born and bred who is credited with launching the college practice at HKS and solidifying its minor league baseball group, died May 29 in Dallas. He was 71.
“Jerry was a true Southern gentleman and a real professional,” said Byron Chambers, a principal and design director at Populous. Chambers worked with Fawcett at HKS before joining Gensler to start a design studio in Dallas with Fawcett and Jonathan Kelly in 2014.
Fawcett rejoined HKS in 2018 and worked there until his death.
His colleagues described Fawcett as sincere, caring and a man of deep faith. He was also a huge baseball fan who absorbed himself in the game, whether it was his baseball card collection or mapping road trips to meet with minor league teams about their ballpark development needs.
Fawcett’s passion for the sport was evident in his workspace. He kept a picture of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., on his desk at work and would tell people it was his dream to be inducted into the Hall, said Mark Williams, an HKS principal and director of marketing.
“Baseball was Jerry,” Williams said.
“He was honest, pure and simple,” he said. “The thing he taught all of us was to do things the right way. He’s a guy that we all looked up to, someone with high character. Everybody said it: clients, co-workers and consultants.”
Fawcett was born in Pottsboro, Texas, and raised in Denison, according to his obituary. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1969. At HKS, he helped design College Park Center, the school’s 7,000-seat basketball arena, which opened in 2012.
Fawcett got his start as an architect with the city of Dallas before forming his own firm for 20 years to design municipal and recreational facilities. He joined HKS in 1998 and was instrumental in starting its college practice, executive vice president Bryan Trubey said.
In 2007, HKS promoted Fawcett to associate principal and senior vice president.
Over the course of his career, Fawcett designed multiple college and minor league ballparks, including Texas A&M’s Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park; Dell Diamond, the home of the Double-A Round Rock Express; and Banner Island Ballpark, where the Class A Stockton (Calif.) Ports play.
Banner Island opened in 2005 and held a special place in Fawcett’s heart. At the time, his son, Trevor Fawcett, was the Ports’ assistant general manager and director of operations, said Chris Lamberth, principal and head of sports and public assembly at Tvsdesign.
Lamberth spent three years at HKS and recalls Fawcett presenting him with a complete set of Topps baseball cards as a gift in 2003.
Fawcett also loved music. On the four-hour drive to HKS designer Don Williams’ ranch in Buffalo, Texas, an annual excursion to shoot at tin cans and tree stumps, Lamberth popped in the Best of the Moody Blues CD. He didn’t realize it was Jerry Fawcett’s favorite band.
“Jerry was good about saying it’s great for us to make these introductions (to potential clients), but it’s all about building relationships and sticking around after the project is done,” Lamberth said. “It’s about nurturing clients.”
In college football, Fawcett worked on 30,000-seat stadiums for the University of North Texas and Florida Atlantic University, plus the $164 million renovation of TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium, which was completed in 2012.
TCU’s project stands out for its Founders Suites, ultra high-end premium spaces that sell for eight-figure sums as the primary mechanism to pay for construction. Since that time, Baylor, Texas A&M and Southern Cal have used a similar model to build and renovate their football stadiums.
Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers are building Founders Suites for their new ballpark in Arlington, Globe Life Field, an HKS project.
North Texas’ Apogee Stadium opened in 2011 using wind turbines to generate power for the facility. It became the first LEED Platinum sports venue in the country, the highest level of sustainability under the U.S. Green Building Council program.
“His contributions are pretty hard to put a value on, just because of his personality,” Trubey said.
“Jerry found a way to get in the door almost anywhere and form long-term relationships,” he said. “He was a phenomenal contributor to the college program and the first person to focus on it in our group.”
As an experienced architect, Fawcett filled the role of mentor to Mark Williams, Trubey and Lamberth, among others.
“He was known to help a lot of people, more than we’ll probably ever know, because he was humble and didn’t publicize much at all or wasn’t real eager to take credit for things,” Trubey said. “That was one of his great strengths.”