The $24 million Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park opened in February 2012 and gave the Texas A&M Baseball program one of the country's crown jewels of collegiate stadiums to call home.
The project, spearheaded by a $7 million pledge from Blue Bell Creameries in nearby Brenham, Texas, allowed the university to transform Olsen Field--which opened in 1978--into a first-class facility that showcases the long-standing tradition of the A&M athletics program.
Blue Bell Park includes traditional and dugout suites and added accommodation seats for fans with special needs. In addition, a new club lounge, additional concessions and restrooms, as well as a children's playground, are part of the facilities.
Players have access to a weight room, hydrotherapy room, training room, bullpens, locker rooms and team lounge. Coaches also have new offices and a separate locker room.
According to former student and HKS Director of Sports Design Byron Chambers, competition at the university level for landing top-flight high school athletes is enormous. In addition to an athletic program's winning tradition, the quality of its game-day, practice, training and academic facilities factors tremendously into the decision-making process of a student.
"Blue Bell Park creates excitement and nostalgia," he continued. "It is a major-league-quality facility with a hospitality-grade environment that demonstrates that Texas A&M University is committed to providing student athletes with the best tools available to achieve present and future success, both on and off the field."
Fans are closer to the action than ever before because designers decreased the distance between home plate and the first seating row. Lawn seating were added along the first- and third-base lines, allowing fans to watch the game from these elevated grassy knolls or take the traditional route of chair seating.
The design team studied and incorporated the rich history not only of Texas A&M but also the history of Aggie baseball.
"We looked at old archive photos of the historic campus buildings and their defining traits and details to begin to establish an architectural style," said Chambers. "The new ballpark is deeply rooted in the fabric of the early 20th century campus architecture. Our goal was to combine the historic character and detailing from the center of campus with the tradition and nostalgia of Aggie baseball."
In addition to its distinct architectural appeal, the stadium includes features that recruits will not be able to ignore.
"The renovations really give the baseball program an upgrade to be able to recruit, to be able to compete with any stadium at any university in the country," said Kevin Hurley, associate athletic director of facilities at Texas A&M University.Quick Facts
- Opened: February 17, 2012
- Capacity: 6,100
- Dimensions: 330 (LF/RF), 375 (LC/RC), 400 (CF)
- Surface: Tifway Bermuda Grass
Parking is available in lots 100g (Reed Arena) & 100j (Blue Bell Park - disabled parking available). Parking is free on days when not in conflict with a men's basketball or baseball game.