Aggie sports facilities update

With fall sports schedules just around the corner, what kind of changes can you expect to see at sporting events this season? Aggie Websider visits with Associate AD for Facilities Kevin Hurley about all of the upgrades going on in Aggieland this summer.

Hurley: The two big construction projects are the indoor facility and obviously the football part of it is complete. That building has been turned over to them so if they want to add graphics or banners, that's their deal now. I know they're planning on doing something.

Obviously we're still under construction with the indoor track facility and we still believe we'll be done by our contract end date of October 31. By the time it's all said and done you're probably looking at 30 days worth of punch list items but we'll have our team practicing in there in November some time, which is really what we want to do. We've got five track meets in 2009 starting in February and then in may we have the NCAA national championships.

The magic carpet (which will roll out to be used by soccer, football, etc.) will not be installed when we open the facility. You'll see a bunch of lids at the end where the turf will be stored, but it will not be installed at the end of this portion of the project.

We'll have all the track in, the weight room will be usable.

We're going to start amping up our efforts to get outside events whether it's state high school events or AAU events or events in conjunction with the university or Reed Arena to further show the economic impact of the facility on the community.

Hurley: I believe by the end of July or first week of August, everything, with the exception of the roadway and that kind of thing, will be finished and you really won't see any changes from this point forward on the outside. Now that you've got the outside closed in, who cares if the wind is blowing or if it's raining, whatever.

We're still scheduled to be finished in the January 15 timeframe, we fully anticipate getting levels, or floors, completed ahead of Jan 15, that's what we're pushing for, like the lower levels where the locker rooms and all the kind of stuff. We want to get that done by Oct 15 because that's when basketball practice starts, but it's going to be close.

Hurley: The bleachers that were on the west side, the reserved seat section, were moved to the north end where we poured a concrete slab last year.

The same company that is installing the bleachers for us in the indoor facility is going to come over and install new bleachers on the west side that will be all bench back seating between the benches. That will be installed before the first home game.

We want to hold 1000 people over there, which will put the capacity at around 5,000. We were at about 3,500-3,800 and we'll be at 4,500-5,000 by the time we're all done. We've got kind of a master plan for the facility and this is just the next phase.

Hurley: We took the roof off this past season and I see some other things happening over there but nothing is set in stone with any dollars set in place or anything like that. We do some modifications (each year) and the (long-term) plans are to have a new roof, a camera platform and a bigger press box.

Hurley: We've kind of started to explore renovating Olsen Field and I think that's one of the next 2 or 3 projects that you hear about. It's one of the few areas we haven't worked on in a quite a longtime.

We've been in conversations with RecSports because they've got a fee referendum and they're planning to expand the Rec Center towards Olsen Field. We've had a great relationship with them trading and giving land so there's all sorts of options on the table. We're looking at everything.

Hurley: We improved the lighting and put new turf in there. Believe it or not, it was still the old Astroturf 1 from when the building was originally opened and we finally replaced that. We also added some nutrition facilities upstairs that Amy Bragg and her staff are very, very proud of.

Hurley: They're moving from Freeman Arena, which has been their home since the inception of the program, to the new Brazos County Expo Center. We're building a new barn with 25hhorse stalls out there right now and eventually we'll build a locker room and some more stalls. It will be done towards the end of August.

Hurley: We are right now under a state fire marshal-mandated upgrade of the elevators to meet all the fire codes, the energy requirements, the new cars. All the old components have been changed with the exception of the actual car. It's got TV screens in it, radio capability, new push utton controls, new cables, new electronics, fire capabilities. They've undergone a tremendous modernization.

It's only the inner four elevators. My guess is the state fire marshal will make us replace the outer four elevators next year in his plan to make us do something every other year.

We're also expanding the emergency generator capacity to handle some fire and life safety issues and backing up the video system and computers and servers. We've seen several times this year when the power goes out on campus, our servers go down and it effects everything from our concessions to internet, to ticketing system and video editing system. That will be a process over the next year so we can stay up and running even if other parts of campus go down.

Right now if we had a power outage during a football game, the power at Kyle field may go down.

Hurley: The next project out the doors is probably the indoor tennis center believe it or not. They've got several significant gifts and they're as close as anything to being the next big project. It will be to the north of the current Varsity Tennis center with six indoor courts and seating and those kinds of things. They still have some money to raise, but I think they've got a good chance of being the next thing out.

Right on its heels will be the Kyle Field renovation as you've probably seen. We're doing a feasibility study to see what we can do, can't do, a business plan, and the whole nine yards. I think that's going to be a little more entailed with the feasibility study where as the indoor tennis facility, if they raise some money and we can build what they want for how much it costs, that will probably be the next thing out.

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