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Poll to gauge opinion on Kyle funding

Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 19:02

Kyle Field

Courtesy: 12th Man Foundation

The conceptual designs of the east side of Kyle Field is interspersed with tributes to student organizations.

Kyle Field

Courtesy: 12th Man Foundation

 

The Texas A&M administration is seeking student opinion regarding funding for the renovation of the student section of Kyle Field.

The A&M administration will gauge student opinion independently of SGA via an email survey Wednesday.

Jason Cook, University spokesman, said the A&M administration has concerns regarding the language in the Student Government Association referendum, which will ask for student opinion about the funding for the renovation of the east side of Kyle Field during student body elections this week.

The difference between the SGA and A&M administration inquiries lies in the proportion to which the east side of Kyle Field will be funded by mandatory student fees through the University Advancement Fee, UAF.

Developments to the east side will include wider concourses and improved restrooms and concessions — renovations that Sam Torn, chair elect of 12th Man Foundation, said will not change the student experience, but enhance it.

The SGA referendum will ask students whether they support increasing the UAF $1.55 per student credit hour ($23.25 for full time students per semester) and sports passes by $17.22 per home game ($120.54 for a seven game season). The SGA referendum asks if students support a UAF increase to cover 40 percent of the cost to renovate the east side of Kyle Field and an increase in sports pass prices to cover the remaining 60 percent.

The A&M administration survey question will ask if students support a funding framework with a larger emphasis on a UAF increase.

The administration will send an email to students Wednesday, asking whether they support increasing the UAF $2.42 per student credit hour ($36.30 for full time students per semester) and sports passes by $11.48 per home game ($80.36 for a seven game season). The survey question from the A&M administration will ask if students support that the UAF cover 60 percent of the cost to renovate the east side of Kyle Field and sports passes cover the remaining 40 percent.

Cook said the A&M administration does not support the use of existing UAF monies for purposes outside "core academic and student support services."

To fund the renovation of the east side of Kyle Field, the administration needs a stable revenue source to support 30-year bonds.

"It's great when A&M has 11 wins, but we have to account for down seasons," Cook said in reference to a mandatory fee being more stable than sports pass sales, which could fluctuate with team performance.

Of the $95 million cost to renovate the east side, students are expected to pay $75 million.

Torn said student involvement fits in accordance with the planned purpose of a “shared vision” for renovations that include but go beyond the creation of a more intimidating environment for opponents and a more enjoyable stadium experience for fans.

“Because of the platform of the Southeastern Conference, because of the evolution of the University, what we’re trying to do is use Kyle Field as a window into telling our story as a University culture,” Torn said.

All of Kyle Field will have wi-fi, which Torn said is a part of unprecedented technological advancements in the stadium.

“Technologically, it will be the finest stadium in the country,” Torn said.

Wider concourses and increased access points will make the stadium as much as four or five times easier to exit, Torn said.

And though the capacity of the east side will increase slightly, Torn said student seating will not be diminished and students will not be asked to pay for aspects of the renovations that don’t affect them.

“We looked at the total cost of the redevelopment of the east side, then we took out all the costs that weren’t associated with the students and just applied the costs that are relevant and connected to the student experience,” Torn said.

The limestone, brick and glass exterior bears a resemblance to another recent stadium upgrade: Blue Bell Park at Olsen Field. Torn said the similarities are intentional.

“We’re trying to create a look complementary to Blue Bell Park because it’s a strong, classic, traditional look and we’re a strong, classic, traditional — but forward- thinking — University,” Torn said.

Torn said the order in which the renovations will take place makes evident the University’s commitment to the student body.

“Our plan is to redevelop the student side before the alumni side and that’s intentional,” Torn said.

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