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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Construction begins on Aggie Park

Construction+on+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+Universitys+new+20-acre+Aggie+Park+began+on+July+6+and+is+set+to+be+completed+in+late+2022+or+early+2023.%26%23160%3B
via aggiepark.tamu.edu

Construction on Texas A&M University’s new 20-acre Aggie Park began on July 6 and is set to be completed in late 2022 or early 2023. 

Construction began July 6 on the renovation of Aggie Park, a 20-acre green space in the heart of campus.

The project — entirely funded and overseen by the Association of Former Students — will transform a space currently used most on football game days into an outdoor Memorial Student Center to be used 365 days a year. The renovated park will be home to a new 79,000 square foot building dedicated to hosting Ring Day and other year-round events, which is projected to finish development in late 2022 or early 2023. The outdoor park itself is expected to be completed by the summer of 2022 and will feature a pond, expanded tailgating space, performance spaces, dedicated food service space and more.

Current students have taken to social media platforms like Reddit, claiming that the Memorial Student Center was “shifting away” from being a place for students to gather and spend time together. Student Body President Natalie Parks said she believes the renovated Aggie Park can address those concerns.

There aren’t very many places on campus, unless you’re a freshman living in the Commons, where you can just go hang out with your friends and spend time in a setting that isn’t just geared towards spending money on food or meetings,” Parks said.

When complete, Aggie Park will be a space for all members of the Aggie Network to access, including students, former students and members of the Bryan-College Station community, Parks said. Since 2018, representatives of a variety of local populations, including Parks, have provided input to the Association of Former Students on desired features for the space.

“I think the Aggie Park is going to open up more opportunities for programming, for student groups to move events that maybe took place off campus and move it onto campus,” Parks said. “That way it’s more accessible to students who may not have a car or otherwise can’t travel longer distances to attend an event.”

Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of the Association of Former Students, said the green spaces and ponds are meant to provide mental health benefits as well, not just aesthetic benefits. 

“Just being around water brings a calming presence to us all,” Greenwade said. “I think it’s important to have places where students can tie up their hammocks and study and relax.”

As part of construction, Greenwade said memorial benches and trees previously in the park have been removed, and will be reincorporated back into the park alongside new memorials and art.

“Every effort is being made to save all the trees that we can, and more are being planted,” Greenwade said.

Rising above the trees will be the new Aggie Ring building, not far removed from the location of the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center that houses both the Association of Former Students and Aggie Ring Day.

“Probably one of the things we are most excited about in the park is how we will be able to use it on Aggie Ring Day,” Greenwade said. “It’s going to give us the opportunity to utilize the whole park setting when distributing Aggie Rings, and maybe have a festival-type environment around Ring Day.”

As of 2021, the largest Ring Day has seen approximately 6,500 rings distributed, and the event had to be broken up across two days, Greenwade said. With the new facility’s square footage, a Ring Day could see up to 10,000 rings distributed in a single event.

“It will just be a space designed for that process, not a space that we are adjusting to that process every year,” Greenwade said.

Like the new amphitheatre and performance pavilions in Aggie Park, the Ring Day building will be used throughout the year for events, Greenwade said. This could include university traditions typically held elsewhere or new events altogether.

“I think it was a great idea to give Ring Day its own space and its own area of celebration,” Parks said. “It will be a unique aspect to that tradition and will elevate it to a new light.”

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