The Texas A&M System Board of Regents has authorized renovations at Kyle Field to begin in the current fiscal year, which ends August 31, 2013.
Previously, Phase 1 had been slated to begin in Fiscal Year 2014, which begin September 1, 2013.
The first phase of the project includes not only major renovations on the west stands at the Aggie football team's home, but also calls for the demolition of G. Rollie White Coliseum, the Read Building and the Netum Steed facility, along with upgrading utilities and creating a pedestrian mall on the west side of the stadium.
The university has yet to announce a decision on the fate of games at Kyle during the renovations. A&M could choose to keep games at the stadium and do the project in phases over a number of years, or university leaders could do the project all at once and move games or a season or two to a different stadium out of town.
"The decisions by the Board of Regents on Kyle Field are an important step in the process, not a destination,” said System Chancellor John Sharp in a statement. “There have been no final decisions as to location, capacity or design of Kyle Field.”
However, a source with knowledge of the closed-door discussions between A&M and local leaders tells News 3 that at no time have there been indications to them that games would move to a new location. Leaders in the government and business communities have been lobbying to keep games locally to avoid millions of dollars in losses.
The source adds that signs point to major work on the west stands beginning right after A&M's final home game of the 2013 season, which is November 16.
Separate sources tell KBTX that there is a design for a renovation in the hands of top A&M officials, but it has not received final approval and therefore is not being released publicly.
The Regents' agenda notes a $50 million "placeholder" amount for the cost of Phase 1 of the renovations, which could change depending on the scope of the project.
In April, the university announced the hiring of Populous to conduct the design study. A&M President R. Bowen Loftin had previously said a study would take six months.
“With a project such as this, which has the potential to be the largest and most significant construction project in the history of college football, there will be many milestones as part of the journey,” said A&M Director of Athletics Eric Hyman in the statement. “We have several significant decisions related to Kyle Field ahead of us in the coming months.”
The System regents met Thursday and Friday at the Kingsville campus.
The following message was sent by Director of Athletics Eric Hyman to members of the 12th Man Foundation Friday:
Having lived in Texas for a large part of my life, I have an appreciation for the saying: “Everything is bigger and better in Texas.” As we continue our planning and deliberations concerning the future of Kyle Field, I keep coming back to the realization that our stadium renovation has the potential to be the largest and most significant construction project in the history of college football.
That’s right, we do things bigger and better in Texas. And that’s certainly true for Texas A&M and the 12th Man.
Earlier today, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents met in Kingsville and approved an agenda item related to the Kyle Field project. Most notably, the Board amended the A&M System’s capital plan to change the project start date to FY2013, our current fiscal year. That doesn’t mean you will see bulldozers and cranes at Kyle Field in the near future – this approval simply enables us to begin a next phase of architectural and engineering work. The Board also appropriated $5 million, which includes $4 million from the 12th Man Foundation, to support these preconstruction services and related project costs.
We have several significant decisions related to Kyle Field ahead of us in the coming months. We continue to discuss Kyle Field’s future capacity, an overall budget and whether the project will require us to play a season away from Kyle Field. No decisions have been made regarding these important items, nor do we have a timetable for these decisions.
You may have read that Coach Sumlin has charged all of us to do the impossible – make Kyle Field an even louder and more intimidating environment. That’s a tall order, but as I have learned over the past several months, nothing is impossible for the 12th Man.
Thank you – the 12th Man Foundation – for your continued dedication and support of Texas A&M Athletics. These are truly exciting and historic times for Texas A&M. Let’s go out tomorrow and BTHO MSU!
Director of Athletics