TEXAS A&M, Tex. (KBTX) - It doesn't matter what time of day you visit the bonfire memorial. It's a quiet, sacred place.
"They always talk about that spirit that ne'er been told, but they actually tell it a lot. It's told through the history of Bonfire. Being able to preserve that here, recognizing that it's really hallowed ground, it's sacred ground for the 500,000 who passed through here.," said Danny Pugh, Texas A&M's Vice President of Student Affairs
The site was dedicated in 2004, 5 years after the tragedy. Each Aggie killed that day is memorialized with their own portal, pointed in the direction of their hometown. The path to the site features a cut in the marble for every year the bonfire burned. But growth from College Station and the university is creeping in on that hallowed ground. It now sits in the shadow of what will soon be a new parking garage, with cranes and crews working constantly.
"One of the next steps as we see the growth which is great for Bryan College Station and the university is also, the original design had trees that surrounded the ring so the next piece is to really bring that vegetation buffer back that will help with the sightlines and the sound," said Pugh.
A renovation this year added new LED lights and upgraded paths to help make the site more accessible. It's all part of the latest master plan.
"One of the blessings is when we look at a campus master plan, we just rolled out a new master plan in 2017, and you can see the buffer zone around it and how we want to maintain the preservation of it and direct people towards it," said Pugh.
That quiet dignity stands for generations to come at Texas Avenue and University Drive, a circle of calm in a constantly changing Aggieland.