Texas A&M exploring stadium expansion

Published Apr. 11, 2012 7:31 p.m. ET

Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne calls it "the most asked question I can recall receiving in recent years."

The question: What's going to happen with Kyle Field?

The answer: Something very big, maybe even a completely new stadium.

A&M officials announced Wednesday that Populous, a leading sports facility design firm, was hired to study what can be done to expand and improve Kyle Field, the home of Texas A&M football since the 1920s.

Populous has been asked to explore designs for both a renovated stadium and a new stadium.

"The earliest we will likely have any information to share with you will be this fall," Byrne said in his weekly newsletter. "While the earliest we would see any comprehensive construction would be after the 2013 football season."

The stadium currently seats 83,002, although last season A&M averaged 87,183. That was good enough to rank 10th in the nation in attendance, but only sixth in the Southeastern Conference, which Texas A&M joins this fall.

A&M officials are anticipating increased interest with the move from the Big 12 to the SEC. The switch to the SEC is also an opportunity to showcase the university to other parts of the country.

Last season Texas A&M sold out every home game for the first time, and season tickets for 2012 have already sold out.

Populous has worked on the stadiums of 11 of the 14 members of the SEC, as well as the design of Houston's Reliant Stadium, the new Yankee Stadium and the main stadium for the 2012 London Olympics.

Byrne said fans might notice some work going on at Kyle Field during the April 28 spring game, but said it was routine maintenance.

That still hasn't stopped the buzz about what is expected to be a massive and long-reaching project.

"We are receiving endless questions on the future of Kyle Field," Byrne wrote. "There are so many rumors about what may or may not happen with Kyle Field, it's like a flavor of the day."

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire