By Samantha Corpus
On April 27, 2016, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved the construction of Texas A&M’s new softball stadium, located at the corner of Tom Chandler Drive and Penberthy Boulevard, and an outdoor track and field complex, located at the corner of George Bush Drive and Penberthy Boulevard.
Construction on the $28.6 million softball stadium has been underway since May. The Texas A&M Athletic Department expects to play softball games during the 2018 season at the new stadium, since construction is expected to be completed by summer 2018. Opening games will be held at the existing stadium while construction is completed.
“For softball, we have been competing above our stadium,” says Kevin Hurley, senior associate athletics director for facilities and construction. “Arguably, we have the worst softball stadium in the SEC, so in order to continue the recruiting battles, to get the best softball student athletes here, you have to build a good stadium, build a good locker room, and you have to take care of all the student athletes’ needs in that respective sport. And we’re able to do that finally.”
The exterior of the new softball stadium will resemble Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park, home of Texas A&M’s baseball team. According to Hurley, the softball stadium will have 2,100 chairback seats. The athletic department hopes to include club level seating like at Olsen Field. The new press box will feature two radio booths, a TV booth, and a writing press area.
Fans can expect a game view from concessions stands and shorter lines at restrooms, so they never have to miss a second of the game. There will also be a canopy, which will keep fans out of the sun.
The $39.8 million track complex project is in progress as of June, and is expected to be finished by August 2018. Athletes will continue to use the current track field for practices.
“At Texas A&M we pride ourselves in being the gold standard and right now we don’t even host an outdoor track meet because it’s that dilapidated,” says Hurley. “From that standpoint, that new stadium will be world class.”
Designs for the new track and field facility, which will be a 52,000-square-foot complex, includes a nine-lane sprint and hurdle straightaway down the middle of an Olympic standard nine-lane running oval, along with a dual field event area. Longer throwing events will utilize the grass infield of the current training facility.
“Currently, our current outdoor track is not up to standards to host a home track meet,” says Hurley. “So the first thing is [fans] will be able to experience the excitement that track meets bring, just like they can now for an indoor track meet now in the outdoor setting.”
Field events such as the discus, hammer, and javelin will be held on the existing grass field. The new track and field complex will be built with the fans in mind, so they will be able to watch from the stands or walk to the area of the field events. There will be 2,200 chairback seats available for fans in the stands.
Each facility will be equipped with hospitality amenities, press box, full broadcast capabilities, and service areas. It will also have team meeting rooms, locker rooms, a training room, official’s quarters, and equipment storage. Additionally, they will have their own ticket box offices at the entrance.
“Everyone is excited because we would have loved to have them done yesterday and get into them and get going,” says Hurley. “From that standpoint, we have a great team that will assemble this and give us a chance to compete in those stadiums in the 2018 year.”