In the wake of the Texas A&M Aggies’ arrival in the Southeastern Conference, paired with the national spotlight brought on by Johnny Manziel’s Heisman Trophy campaign, Texas A&M’s Board of Regents approved a $450 million redevelopment plan for historic Kyle Field. One of the oldest stadiums in college football, A&M’s crown jewel needed a makeover that paired with the football program’s new-found stardom as an SEC powerhouse.
The plan, which was approved in May 2013, increased Kyle Field’s seating capacity from 82,589 people to north of 102,500. When renovations finished, A&M’s pantheon became the third-largest stadium in college football, and it surpassed the Tennessee Volunteers’ home turf as the largest in the SEC.
Talk about making an entrance.
Largest College Football Stadiums by Capacity
1. Michigan Stadium (Michigan) — 107,601
2. Beaver Stadium (Penn State) — 106,572
3. Kyle Field (Texas A&M) — 102,733
4. Neyland Stadium (Tennessee) — 102,455
5. Tiger Stadium (LSU) — 102,321
6. Ohio Stadium (Ohio State) — 102,082
7. Bryant-Denny Stadium (Alabama) — 101,821
8. Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (Texas) — 100,119
9. Sanford Stadium (Georgia) — 92,746
10. Rose Bowl (UCLA) — 90,888
11. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Florida) — 88,548
12. Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn) — 87,451
13. Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (Oklahoma) — 86,112
14. Memorial Stadium (Nebraska) — 85,458
15. Frank Howard Field at Clemson Memorial Stadium (Clemson) — 81,500
The $450 million project was funded “on donations and bonds that will be paid for by seat licenses and ticket sales, along with an increase of student fees (an average of $36.30 per student) and a new hotel tax,” according to The Dallas Morning News.
A project described as “powerful, ambitious, aggressive, iconic” by former A&M athletic director Eric Hyman took just shy of two years to complete. Kyle Field opened the 2015 football season with its fully-enclosed design, canopies hanging over both the west and east side to help trap noise inside The Home of The 12th Man, and loge boxes, luxury suites and premium club seating prominent along Kyle Field’s west side. The football field was lowered slightly, bringing fans closer to the action, while the stadium’s south end zone included even more bleacher seating below the scoreboard.
“Kyle Field is a megaphone to the world, whether you like it or not,” John Sharp, Texas A&M University’s system chancellor said at the time. “The megaphone we’re fixin’ to build is going to be the loudest on the planet.”
Watch College Station’s massive project unfold in this awesome time-lapse video of the project.
Time-Lapse Video of Texas A&M’s Kyle Field
The project wasn’t without a terrible tragedy, though.
Angel Garcia was killed on December 3, 2013 after suffering a four-story fall during the demolition phase of construction. According to The Dallas Morning News, a jury found Lindamood Demolition and Manhattan-Vaughn JVP, the project’s general contractor, jointly responsible for his death. Garcia, who was 28 years old when he died, was survived by his wife Josephina and two children.
A Houston jury awarded Garcia’s family $53 million in a lawsuit that covered pain and mental anguish, loss of companionship, and loss of income.
This post was originally published in November 2015 before updating.