A&M Regents Begin Meetings Thursday

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With 51 agenda items on its plate, the Texas A&M System Board of Regents is in for a big two days, and much of the discussion that starts Thursday will center on new athletic department projects.

The department has put a $12 million price tag on technology they hope will bring in more revenue, please more fans and bring in more recruits. At the two days of regents meetings, A&M is seeking permission to buy a 72-by-52-foot video board for the south end of Kyle Field, along with a new sound system, 1,100 feet of video boards and all new scoreboards. The university says the technology in place now is out of date to the point that they can't even buy replacement parts for the current video board.

Reed Arena would also be the home of a new eight-sided video scoreboard hung above the court if the regents approve. They'd also get 300 feet of video boards for around the arena.

That $12 million deal A&M wants would also include a portable board for other athletic events and a video board for Olsen Field.

The Frank Anderson Track and Field Complex is two decades old, and the track itself was only expected to last a decade. Patchwork has doubled the surface's life, but the athletic department is requesting approval on a nearly $5 million project to replace the existing track. Again, they are hoping to recruit athletes, as well as increase those students' times.

And from an outdoor track to a proposed indoor facility. A&M is asking the regents to approve a $20 million project for a building that could house practices, tennis tournaments, and track meets. There hasn't been a track meet at A&M under lights or sun since the middle of 2004.

Speaking of new facilities, this one outside of the sports realm, the regents will be asked to approve a new pair of homes for the physics department at A&M, which would come out of a $35 million donation from Aggie alum George P. Mitchell.

A pair of prominent facilities are also looking to cash in. Easterwood Airport is looking for approval to build an even bigger aircraft parking apron, one that would be more cost effective.

And an expansion of a training center and the creation of more classroom space for the Brayton Fire School is up for approval.

A&M Vice Provost William Perry and two other candidates will be interviewed by regents for the presidency of West Texas A&M University.

The regents will also look at establishing five centers as part of a joint project between the university and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station.