Texas A&M has made no secret of its plans to renovate 85-year-old Kyle Field into one of the premier college football facilities in the country. But a Tuesday report from the Bryan-College Station Eagle makes it clear just how big the Aggies are thinking with this expansion.
The Eagle cited multiple local government officials present at an "impromptu meeting" Monday where Texas A&M University System chancellor John Sharp presented a tentative three-year renovation plan, a plan that would cost "from $425 to $450 million" and increase Kyle Field's capacity from its current 82,589 to "93,000 to 103,500."
According to the Eagle, among the officials present at the meeting weren't just Sharp and other Aggie representatives, but College Station mayor Nancy Berry (last seen in this spacemaking her own YouTube response to Will Muschamp), Bryan mayor Jason Bienski, and other officials from each city. The plan presented by Sharp would reportedly ask the two municipalities to "pitch in" as much as $38 million toward the renovation project.
Though far from A&M's preferred option, as recently as April Aggie officials were leaving the door open to the possibility of a full demolition of Kyle Field and a season spent playing at nearby Houston's Reliant Stadium. That move would be a sizable blow to the local economy -- and a likely motivation behind Sharp's request that public funds be used on the stadium renovation.
In a statement issued Tuesday and published in the Houston Chronicle, A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said that nothing has been decided about the Kyle Field project just yet ... including whether the Aggies might move for a season or not.
"It is important to reiterate that no decisions have been made as to whether the Aggies will play a season away from Kyle Field, and we continue to hope that this will be an unlikely option," Loftin said.
At this stage, however, it seems that Kyle Field will be spared and instead undergo its expansion in stages over the course of the plan's three years. Then-athletic director Bill Byrne said in January that he preferred the expansion to proceed "a deck at a time."
However the expansion is completed, if it does push Kyle Field all the way up to that 103,000-seat mark, it could give the Aggies the largest official stadium capacity in the SEC -- Tennessee's Neyland Stadium is the current No. 1 at 102,455, with Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium No. 2 at just under 102,000 -- and put them on the shortlist of the largest college football stadiums in the country.
To truly feel like a full-fledged member of the SEC football fraternity, the Aggies will have to earn their way on the field -- preferably, for them, starting this Saturday against two-touchdown underdog Arkansas. But dreaming this big when it comes to overhauling their facility is certainly a nice start.