Funding for Kyle Field renovation gains clarity
B-CS hotels expected to share cost, benefits
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2013 14:03
Texas A&M administrators and B-CS community leaders announced an agreement in principle to financially support the Kyle Field Redevelopment Project. Such an agreement would generate $36 million of the $420 million needed to renovate and expand Kyle Field, as well as keep football games in College Station.
The administration has been working with Brazos Valley community leaders over the past year to develop a “mutually beneficial solution,” according to A&M System Chancellor John Sharp.
University President R. Bowen Loftin said from the Wednesday press conference at The Zone Club in Kyle Field that he was grateful for the support from “our community.”
“Texas A&M is a close partner with our local community, and it has been important to us from the beginning to ensure that the Kyle Field renovations do not impair the local economy nor our ongoing operations during the construction process,” Loftin said.
The A&M System Twitter account tweeted a quote from Sharp about the expected location where A&M football games will be played in College Station during Kyle Field renovations. “@Aggiechancellor: ‘Kyle Field games will be played here and not anywhere else,’” the tweet read.
“It is definitely a good thing that [football] is staying. I know the possibility of playing in Houston was being discussed, and honestly that would be awful for Aggies everywhere,” said exercise physiology graduate student David Castille.
Proposed funding for the agreement would be generated through existing unallocated College Station hotel taxes and an additional three-quarter of one percent countywide hotel tax. The combined revenue would generate a total of $36 million over 30 years, or about $1.2 million per year.
In exchange, University facilities and meeting spaces — such as Reed Arena and the Zone Club — will be made accessible to organization not directly affiliated with the University.
College Station Mayor Nancy Berry said that not a dime to fund the Kyle Field expansion project will come from residents of the community, but rather from tourists who stay in B-CS hotels.
“More destinations mean more people will come to our community,” Berry said. “They’ll stay in our hotels, they’ll eat in our restaurants, buy alcohol in our bars and buy gasoline on their way out of town.”
The total cost of the expansion and renovation of Kyle Field is projected to be $430 million. Students will be expected to raise $75 million to renovate the east side, or student section. The project will be paid for over a span of 30 years, which equates to about $5 million per year.
Students have various opinions concerning the student body’s contribution, including student fees, sports passes and increased ticket prices.
“I don’t think that students need to take all the responsibility of paying that much. As a student, you enjoy the facilities even if you don’t go to the football games … probably they could raise it in different ways,” said Kun Qian, sophomore nutrition and genetics double major. “I personally don’t care, I don’t go to football games, and that’s not fair for me to have to pay part of that.”
Stadium renovations will pause during the football season. A&M officials anticipate that Kyle Field renovations will be completed in 2015.
Kyle Field has served as the home of A&M football and the 12th Man since it was built in 1927. Kyle Field seats — or stands — more than 82,000 people, with a stadium record of 90,079 during the 2010 Nebraska game.
The number of seats that the renovated stadium will hold has not yet been announced. The number could fall between 95,000 and 102,500.
In 1999, a $32.9 million expansion of the north end zone was completed, bringing visitors and fans 65 feet closer to the action on the field. The Zone, as it was called, opened at full capacity for the first time for the annual Texas A&M-UT rivalry game in 1999. According to the Texas A&M Athletic website, the opening of The Zone propelled A&M's season home attendance to consecutive record-breaking seasons in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Texas A&M drew over a half-million fans to Kyle Field in 2002, easily the biggest attendance in school history.