By Josh Kutz, MIA 2015

In October of 1997, Former Texas A&M President Ray Bowen selected 250 individuals – students, faculty, former students, and local residents and business owners – and assigned them the task of articulating for the university a strategic path forward. The ultimate goal of this plan was for Texas A&M to be recognized as one of the top ten universities in the United States by the year 2020. Accordingly, it was dubbed Vision 2020.

This task force and the strategic blueprint that it produced has been the source of remarkable progress and change across Aggieland for over a decade now. This year is no exception; across campus attempts to improve our university are clearly evident.

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The Kyle Field stadium in 2006, prior to renovation

Perhaps the most apparent effort at improvement is the renovation of Kyle Field. The goal is to make Kyle “the premier facility in all of college football and a destination for football fans everywhere.” The renovation is estimated to cost $450 million. These funds will be used to construct grandstands at the south end of the field, thereby increasing seating capacity from 82,600 to 102,500. Kyle Field will be the largest stadium in Texas and the largest stadium in the SEC, outpacing the University of Tennessee by fifty seats. The renovations will take place in two phases to ensure that the stadium will be open for business during the Aggies’ next two seasons.

Of less pomp are the various other construction projects taking place all over campus. To accommodate the growing student population, a brand new residence hall – Hullaballoo Hall – was constructed. Completed in time for the start of this fall semester, Hullaballoo houses almost 650 students. In addition, the university has upgraded three Corps of Cadets dorms over the last two years and plans similar work in others. Furthermore, the renovated university golf course recently reopened. It now boasts 19 holes and an extra three holes for instructional purposes. Finally, work has begun on Scoates Hall and the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. Both have expected completion dates in December of next year.

Our school is over halfway through the time President Bowen allotted for attaining a top ten rank as a university. Of course, the changes in physical appearance of the A&M campus are only one element of the goals of Bowen and his task force. Still, they are tangible representations of the variety of improvements occurring throughout Texas A&M University in accordance with Vision 2020.