COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M University and the 12th Man Foundation have engaged Populous to lead the design study phase for the renovation and redevelopment of Kyle Field, recognized as the nation's top college football gameday experience and "Home of the 12th Man."
Populous (www.populous.com), one of the world's premier sports facility design firms, has a portfolio of more than 300 collegiate projects, including work on 80 football stadiums. Eleven of the 14 future Southeastern Conference members have previously worked with Populous, including the University of Alabama (expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium), LSU (expansion of Tiger Stadium) and the University of Florida (expansion of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium). Populous-led projects also include Yankee Stadium and the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games' main stadium.
"Our move to the SEC has created a tremendous amount of excitement around Texas A&M, and we are seeing an unprecedented demand for football season tickets," said Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin '71. "Our football weekends will provide us with a key vehicle for introducing people around the country to Texas A&M, and we are committed to ensuring that Kyle Field reflects the unique traditions and Aggie spirit embodied by this world-class institution."
The design study phase will explore various design options for Kyle Field, including plans for both a renovated stadium and a new stadium. The result of the study will provide Texas A&M and 12th Man Foundation officials with multiple design options for the future of the 83,002-seat stadium and will address staging of construction, preliminary cost estimating and construction timelines. Additionally, the Populous team will conduct marketing research related to the stadium project and will provide recommendations with respect to sponsorships, operations and technology related to Kyle Field.
"We feel the Kyle Field stadium redevelopment is wholly unique in that together we have the opportunity to help define a new path for Texas A&M's future in what could become one of the most significant redevelopment projects in all of American sport," said Populous Senior Principal Earl Santee, AIA, who will personally oversee the project. "Our plan for this project is innovative, comprehensive and full of passion. We will seek to define the meaningful moments of Aggie Football: the traditions, the fans and the environment that create a one-of-a-kind experience."
Texas A&M and 12th Man Foundation officials have charged Populous to examine several strategic goals: developing an increased fixed seating capacity, understanding existing structural conditions, generating additional revenue, improving fan amenities, developing a plan to address fire and life safety requirements, improving ingress/egress, and developing multi-use opportunities. All parties have also committed to maintaining Kyle Field's uniqueness, while striving to enhance fans' overall experience on game day.
The design study phase will begin immediately, with comprehensive construction potentially beginning following the 2013 football season. Texas A&M officials note, however, that some minor construction will occur in and around Kyle Field prior to the 2012 season.
"President Loftin has referred to Texas A&M's move to the SEC as a 100-year decision, and now we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redevelop Kyle Field," said M. Scott Taylor '69, chairman of the 12th Man Foundation's board of trustees. "Given the magnitude and historic significance of this project, we want to be thoughtful and measured as we move forward, and we believe that Populous is the ideal partner to assist us with this project."
Texas A&M recently announced that season tickets for the 2012 football campaign - the Aggies' first as a member of the SEC - were sold out, marking the earliest sellout of season tickets in school history. Last season, Texas A&M shattered several attendance records at Kyle Field, including five of the top 10 single-game attendances. For the first time ever, all games at Kyle Field were sold out, with an average attendance of 87,183, ranking 10th nationally.
Kyle Field, named for Edwin Jackson Kyle, who served as Texas A&M's dean of agriculture and athletic council president, has been the home of the Aggie football team since 1927. Kyle Field was initially expanded in 1967 to include two decks of grandstands, and the third decks were added to the east and west sides in 1980. Most recently, the stadium was expanded in 1999 to include the $32.9 million north end zone expansion, known as the Bernard C. Richardson Zone.
About Populous (www.populous.com):
Since inception in 1983, Populous has grown into the world's leading design firm dedicated exclusively to creating environments that draw people and communities together for unforgettable experiences. The firm has completed more than 1,000 projects around the globe with construction value exceeding $20 billion. Populous has worked with 24 Major League Baseball franchises, 30 NFL franchises, 80 professional and civic arena clients, 40 global soccer and rugby teams, 120 universities, 40 convention center clients, 29 equestrian clients and has planned more than 30 major worldwide events.
Our portfolio includes such icons as Yankee Stadium in New York; the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games main stadium; Nanjing Sports Park in China; ANZ Stadium in Australia; Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona; the new University of Minnesota football stadium and event planning for the Super Bowl and Major League Baseball All Star Game. We have received nearly 200 design awards for our work, including three national American Institute of Architect awards and countless global design awards. In addition, in 2009 and in 2010, Populous was named one of Fast Company magazine's most innovative companies in sports and was also named the American Institute of Architects - Kansas City Chapter Firm of the Year. As Populous, we enthusiastically embrace the expertise we uniquely claim - drawing people together around teams, athletes, events, places, commerce, industry and ideas they wholeheartedly embrace and adore.
COMMENT FROM TEXAS A&M DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS BILL BYRNE:
"I have seen the work of Populous and I know from working hand-in-hand with the 12th Man Foundation on other projects, the Kyle Field renovation will be handled in a first-class manner. The Spirit of Aggieland is never more apparent than at Kyle Field, the support we receive from our students and our Former Students is second to none."
COMMENT FROM TEXAS A&M HEAD FOOTBALL COACH KEVIN SUMLIN:
"I have had a pretty unique perspective having been on both sidelines at Kyle Field. I can tell you the stadium is intimidating, but the key is the 12th Man. With the largest student section in college football standing ready, that is what makes Kyle Field so special. It will be exciting to see some possible renovations to the stadium to enhance an already terrific atmosphere."