Five former students head renovation teams for Ags' new Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park

Byron Chambers '00

Byron Chambers ’00

David Skaggs '92

David Skaggs '92

Thomas Smith '01

Karen Yeoman, '86

The dramatic $24 million facelift to Texas A&M’s baseball stadium, now known as Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park, was made possible, in part, by Texas A&M College of Architecture former students Tyler Lee ’06, Byron Chambers ’00, David Skaggs ‘92, Thomas Smith '01 and Karen Yeoman, '86.

Lee, who earned a Bachelor of Building Construction degree at Texas A&M in 2006, worked as project superintendent for the construction company, SKANSKA. Architectural work on the stadium was done by the HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, under the direction of Chambers, director of sports design and holder of bachelor's and master's architecture degrees earned at Texas A&M in 2000 and 2002. 

David Skaggs, a 1992 environmental design graduate, served as HKS project manager and Smith, who earned bachelor's and master's architecture degrees at Texas A&M in 2001 and 2003, was a project coordinator. Yeoman, who earned a building construction degree, served as a construction administrator for the renovation.

The stadium’s new features will be unveiled at the Aggies’ home opener at 6:35 p.m. Feb. 17 against Illinois-Chicago.

“It is a major-league-quality facility with a hospitality-grade environment that demonstrates that Texas A&M is committed to providing student athletes with the best tools available to achieve present and future success, both on and off the field,” said Chambers.

The stadium boasts new suites, a club lounge, additional concessions and restrooms and a children’s playground, a new weight room, training rooms, locker rooms, team lounge and new office space and lockers for coaches.

Fans will be closer to the action because HKS designers decreased the distance between home plate and the first seating row. Berms were added along the first- and third-base lines, allowing fans to watch the game from these elevated grassy knolls or take the traditional route of chair seating.

The design team studied and incorporated the rich history not only of Texas A&M but also the history of Aggie baseball. 

“We looked at archive photos of historic campus buildings and their defining traits and details to begin to establish an architectural style,” said Chambers. “The new ballpark is deeply rooted in the fabric of the early 20th century campus architecture. Our goal was to combine the historic character and detailing from the center of campus with the tradition and nostalgia of Aggie baseball.”

In addition to its distinct architectural appeal, the stadium includes features that recruits will not be able to ignore.

“The renovations really give the baseball program an upgrade to be able to recruit, to be able to compete with any stadium at any university in the country," said Kevin Hurley, associate athletic director of facilities at Texas A&M University.

After the renovations, only the stadiums atLouisiana State University and the University of Arkansas will offer more seating among schools in the Southeastern Conference.

posted February 15, 2012