For nearly five years, the Texas A&M system and the flagship campus have been talking about redeveloping the area east of Kyle Field, between the Koldus bulding and the alumni center. That project has become a reality.
The Association of Former Students and the A&M Foundation have announced construction starts next month on the $25 million dollar Aggie Park.
The two year project, which will not affect football traffic and tailgating, starts with an outdoor amphitheater, water features, and student activity areas.
A second phase is a new facility for the association and the foundation that will house foundation staff, the Aggie Ring program, and host special events.
The first order of business is removing the former president’s home, which was converted about five years ago to host events. Key architectural elements of the house will be preserved for future use.
Click below for comments from association vice president Kathryn Greenwade, visiting with WTAW’s Bill Oliver:
News release from the Texas A&M Association of Former Students:
Aggie Park Project to Commence in Spring
Twenty-acre green space redevelopment project will provide student study and relaxation, tailgating and entertainment spaces to serve students, faculty and staff, former students and visitors.
Texas A&M University, in conjunction with The Association of Former Students, announced today a campus beautification project that The Association of Former Students and Texas A&M Foundation will lead on a lease-back arrangement with Texas A&M University. A groundbreaking is planned for February 29, 2020, with an anticipated completion in spring 2022.
The 20-acre green space, located between the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center and the John J. Koldus Building, will be redesigned for much-needed outdoor space for study, relaxation and events. The space will provide improved accessibility and beauty for the campus, to include water features, an outdoor amphitheater and enhanced student activity areas. Tributes honoring Distinguished Alumni and former university leaders will be interspersed among ample green space. In addition, a new facility is being planned for a second phase, to be constructed and jointly operated by The Association of Former Students and The Texas A&M Foundation to house the Aggie Ring Program, as well as Foundation staff, and to host Aggie Ring Day and other special events.
Porter S. Garner III ’79, President and CEO of The Association of Former Students, indicated this milestone project will create a welcoming and inspirational space for students, faculty and staff, former students and all who visit the Texas A&M campus. “The Association of Former Students is proud to play a lead role in this landmark project for Texas A&M and looks forward to seeing Aggie Park emerge as a place of inspiration, celebration and reflection for the entire Aggie Network,” Garner said.
Texas A&M President Michael K. Young stated: “We are excited about this project. From beautiful places to study and relax to an outdoor amphitheater for events, Aggie Park will be enjoyed by generations to come. We are grateful to The Association of Former Students and the Texas A&M Foundation for their commitment to raise private funds to make it happen.”
A series of student, faculty, staff and former student meetings has been underway to inform the needed designs and functionality of the space. Construction is anticipated to be completed in 2022 with provisions to ensure that traffic and tailgating during 2020 and 2021 remain uninterrupted.
Originally conceived as beautification in the form of a lake or water feature adjacent to the Kyle Field renovation, the project has since taken into account the growing needs of the student body, from Aggie Ring Day that can draw more than 6,500 students and 40,000 family members, to outdoor event space, full Wi-Fi capability and other priorities articulated by students and others.
John Sharp ’72, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, offered: “Aggie Park will be a grand statement that says ‘Welcome Back’ to former students and ‘Howdy’ to campus visitors while becoming a favorite greenspace for students. I look forward to seeing it when it is complete.”
Student body president Mikey Jaillet ’20 added his endorsement: “As the largest student body in the nation, we have craved and needed more useable outdoor green space. Whether it’s a concert on the lawn or simply gathering for outdoor conversation on a sunny day, students will undoubtedly enjoy this public space in many ways for years to come.”
OJB Landscape Architecture has created the park design, Lake Flato is providing architectural services for the building, and Midway will manage the project through construction. “These architects are renowned in creating state-of-the-art, beautiful spaces such as Klyde Warren Park in Dallas and the Witte Museum and Mays Family Center in San Antonio,” said Garner.
Tyson Voelkel ’96, President of the Texas A&M Foundation, described the project as an opportunity for collaboration, recognition and vision. “Aggie Park is an opportunity for the university and its affiliated partners to build a space that recognizes the past, embraces the future and helps enable the continued unique blend of Aggie values to thrive.”
The Association of Former Students and the Texas A&M Foundation will raise the estimated $25 million needed to transform the park.
Work will commence in March, beginning with the removal of One Circle Drive, an events space and former President’s Home. Key architectural elements of the house will be preserved for future use.
The 12th Man Foundation, while not directly involved operationally in the project, is a strong proponent of the endeavor. President and CEO of the 12th Man Foundation, Travis Dabney ’96, offered his organization’s support of the project, saying, “We’re thrilled with the renovation that will serve the 12th Man 365 days a year as well as make for a beautiful setting for tailgating and national programs like ESPN GameDay.”
More information about Aggie Park, including conceptual designs, timelines and frequently asked questions can be found at https://AggiePark.tamu.edu.