12 Features to Watch for on Opening Day at Kyle Field

September 4, 2015 / Craig Kaufman

The long awaited opening of the redeveloped Kyle Field is almost here.  Soon the doors will open and students, former students, and fans of all kinds will be welcomed into a stadium all Aggies will be proud to call their own.  We’re very excited to show off what Populous, the 12th Man Foundation, the University and the contractors have been working so hard to bring to Texas A&M.  There are many exciting new features with the New Kyle Field, but I wanted to tell you about some of the key features to check out.  In the Aggie Spirit of the 12th Man, here’s my Top 12 list.

12. Technology: The New Kyle Field will be the most technologically advanced stadium in the country. The stadium will have digital menu boards that can be updated even during events; fans will be able to enjoy hundreds of new TVs; and, most notably, once tuned in over the first few games, the stadium will have the most advanced and extensive Wi-Fi and cell phone system of any sporting facility, capable of connecting every single fan simultaneously if your carrier is on the system.

11.  Audio Visual: I know fans will be excited about the features of the new sound system. We’ve replaced the old sound system that blasted out of the south end with a new, fully distributed system with over a thousand speakers. That’s like going from a boom box to a high fidelity stereo.  Last year we unveiled the new south scoreboard which was the largest board in collegiate sports.  We also added a large video board in the northeast corner of the stadium.  This year we are adding another large board in the northwest corner and ribbon boards around the seating.  With the addition of these boards and the video boards inside the stadium, Aggies can now claim Kyle Field has more LED video displays than any collegiate venue in history.

10. 102,733: Fans will realize immediately the enormity of the redeveloped Kyle Field. Seating capacity has been bumped from 82,589 to 102,733, making it the biggest in the SEC and one of the five biggest stadiums in college football. But it isn’t just the capacity that’s been changed. The quality of seating and variety of seating options has been greatly enhanced including increasing accessibility and seating options for persons with disabilities.

9. Fan Amenities: Before we started, Kyle Field had the same challenges as many older stadiums. The two that probably everyone, everywhere complains about the most are long lines at toilets and the quality of food options.  In addition to increasing the quantity of men’s rooms, there will be almost four times as many women’s toilets than there were in the old stadium.  We’ve also added family toilets around the stadium.  In addition to doubling the number of concession points-of-sale, fans will also see and taste a greatly improved quality of concessions and food service.  Levy Restaurants will now be in charge of the complete facility.  Some fans have already experienced the increase in quality, and now, Levy will be able to bring their services to the entire stadium.  And if you’ve yet to enjoy Chef Picou’s smoked brisket, you’ve got something to look forward to.

8. Circulation: In the New Kyle Field fans will find it much easier to circulate up and around the stadium. Kyle field now has an “Activation Tower” at each of the four corners.  These towers will be the main entrances and vertical circulation for students and most fans.  The north two towers have escalators and stairs up to each level.  The south two towers have ramps all the way up.  The renovation also added 12 new passenger elevators and two new service elevators.  With the completion of the west side of the stadium, we’ve also added the ability for fans to circulate completely around the stadium on both the 300 level and the 600 level concourses.  This will allow fans to experience all of Kyle Field and not just the area around their seats.

7. 365: although the primary purpose of Kyle Field is to host football games, the stadium has many functions and spaces for use year around enhancing its value to the University. There are several new club spaces on the west side that can be used for parties, banquets, presentations and other special events.  There is a new Barnes and Noble 12th Man Shop that will be open to the public.  The east side of the stadium houses offices for the athletic department and operations.  There is also an auditorium on in the northwest corner of the stadium that will be used for classes and lectures.

6. Plazas: students may also enjoy the many open plazas around the stadium that can be used anytime they need a break or a place outside to study.  The benches in the north plaza even have power for students to plug in their devices.  The west side of the stadium will have a new exterior Victory Street dining that will be used on game day but may also be used for other occasions.

5. Premium Options: there isn’t another stadium in the country with as vast an array of premium seating and amenities. Last year we introduced a new style of suites on the east side. Opening this year will be many new, premium spaces including the All American Club, Founders, Legacy and Prime suites, two new loge areas and an upscale Field Concourse. All of these spaces have their own unique style, yet all in character of A&M and its many traditions.

4. Hall of Champions: Other than the game itself, I believe the Hall of Champions will be the most popular feature of the new stadium. The Hall of Champions is three stories tall and as long as the football field.  It will not only honor A&M’s rich football history, but will celebrate all Aggie sports.  It will contain video and interactive displays that will appeal to fans of all ages.  Most of the displays will be portable because the space is also designed to be used for many other events such as banquets, lectures, parties, and more.  The displays can be easily programed for the particular event.  For example, if Track and Field is having an end-of-the-season banquet, they can put videos on the displays and three large boards and the names of team members on the ribbon board that runs all the way around the space.

3. Traditions: Texas A&M is one of the most tradition-rich universities in the nation. Early on in the design process, we mapped out each and every tradition and discussed, in detail, how we could plan for and enhance the most authentic Aggie traditions –Midnight Yell, March In, the War Hymn, and Yell Leaders are just a few. The plazas around the stadium have sculptures and monuments honoring these traditions. We’ve reinforced what most already know – Texas A&M is a university of tradition.

2. Home Field: we quickly learned Aggie fans don’t just watch the game, they affect it. The enthusiasm and Spirit the 12th Man brings to games is unparalleled.  We wanted to take that enthusiasm and give Kyle Field an even stronger home field advantage.  We started by lowering the playing field seven feet and adding six rows even closer to the action.  The south end zone was closed in with seating bringing fans all around the field.  We added large canopies over the east and west sides of the stadium that provide shade but also redirect all the sound back down onto the field.  These elements are designed to make Kyle Field even more intimidating for visiting teams.

1. A&M Quality: Kyle Field has a long history going back to 1904. The stadium consisted of different buildings constructed over the decades.  Each of these portions which made up the old Kyle Field had different styles and materials with little to no cohesion.  Some of the buildings were outdated and just didn’t reflect the image A&M wanted to portray.  One of our main goals on the project was to keep the areas of the stadium that were working well and add new, modern amenities while tying the whole stadium together with traditional brick and stone.  We wanted the redevelopment of Kyle Field to appropriately represent the strength and quality that A&M expects and deserves.   We were given the goal “to build the finest collegiate football facility in history”.  We think we’ve done it.  Now Aggies have a new home they can be proud of.

Want to know more about the stadium, design and process? Visit www.populous.com/kylefield.

Meet the author

Craig Kaufman

Senior Principal, Director of Operations / Kansas City


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