Media Gets First Look At New Kyle Field In Open House

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COLLEGE STATION - More than 100,000 football fans are expected to fill a partially renovated Kyle Field this Saturday for 9th-ranked Texas A&M's home opener against Lamar University.

And fans will get an eye-opener of phase one of the expansion.

The media got a tour of the stadium Thursday with a peek at new luxury suites, new concession areas, and the largest scoreboard in college football.

The additions they've made so far are definitely something the university is proud of.

The sheer size, and suites are going to make for some spectacular game watching this weekend and the years to come.

And what's also amazing is the whole first phase was finished in just a year.

From the air it's a colossal stadium, up close it's Kyle Field with a whole new and expanded look.

Dozens of journalists got the first public tour of Kyle Field including the largest video board in college football and escalators to make it easier to get around.

"I think people are going to be very impressed with what they see," said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp.

He showed the media some of the new east side luxury suites complete with lavish kitchens and viewing areas and some with access to outside seating.

All but two of the 12 multi-million dollar Founders Suites have been sold.

It took a team of thousands of workers to make all this happen.

On Saturday those workers and their families will be invited to the game.

"The folks building this stadium have had one day off in the last 12 months. Christmas Day was the only day they had off," Sharp said.

Phillip Ray with the Texas A&M System says much more at Kyle is in store.

"We've still got another half to go but we feel very good about where we are," said Ray, who is the Chief Business Development Officer for the system.

There were plenty of new foods for football fans' palates at fancier concession stands.

"They call these the brisket tacos and man they sure are really good," said News 3's Clay Falls during a food sampling.

It will also be a smart stadium with increased connectivity for cell phones and WIFI, most of that coming next year.

"What makes this work for us is the network that we're putting in. It's fully fiber-based network, there's no one else in collegiate or NFL that has this system," said Todd Christner a Complex Solution Executive with IBM.

Keeping the reputation as Kyle Field being the most intimidating place for away teams to visit, you'll notice these canopies at the top of the new press box. Now they're not for shade but to make it an even louder place to play.

"This will be the number one sports venue in the United States, it will be the best looking and the best," said John Sharp.

And this is only the halfway mark.

The west side of Kyle Field is being imploded December 14th, and that's the beginning of the final phase of the expansion.

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It's an Aggie wow factor for a new season at Texas A&M's new and improved Kyle Field with phase one of the expansion just about complete.

And in about 48 hours fans will fill the stadium for A&M's first home game of the season as the Aggies take on the Cardinals of Lamar University.

A&M took the media on a tour Thursday.

News 3 had a look at Kyle Field at some of the stadium bling.

One of the things most striking about the new Kyle Field is its sheer size now that it's completely filled in on all four sides.

We also got to see some of the suites on the new east side and they are equally spectacular.

From the outside one of the first things that catches your eye is the new giant video board high in the south end.

It's the largest in college football.

It will also be even louder with canopies not there for shade but to direct sound down to the field.

The suites on the east side are equally amazing with plenty of room for parties in a large kitchen area as well as viewing areas and even access to outside seating.

There's even an app where suite members can control the TV's from their phones.

The concession stands have plenty of new menu items. We got to try the brisket tacos and they were delicious.

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp says the stadium is the best of the best.

"We gonna have the best venue, the best food. Before it's over with after next year we're gonna be the smartest stadium in the country with the IBM take that they have. It's going to be, sure not going to be anything around here close to this that's for sure," Sharp said.

He also added the project remained on schedule and on budget with Manhattan Vaughn Construction with crews working around the clock in the weeks leading up to the first football game.

Another fun fact ladies will appreciate is there are 300 percent more restrooms for women now inside.

This season Kyle will seat 106,500 and Texas A&M Senior Associate Athletics Director Jason Cook told me they are close to a sell-out for Saturday's game.

When phase two is completed next year the stadium capacity will drop to 102,512.

News 3 will have more coverage inside at ten.