The massive expansion of Kyle Field may come at a price even more dear than the already lofty $450MM mark.
Good Bull Hunting has learned that, due to unforeseen interpretations of building codes and health inspection laws in Brazos County, beloved mascot Reveille may not be allowed to enter Kyle Field once the renovations are complete.
The problem originated with an attempt by university officials to reduce the expense of this project by reclassifying the building. In a bid to keep property taxes to a minimum, the decision was made to list the newly renovated Kyle Field as a restaurant rather than a stadium. This was no doubt made possible by the drastic improvement to the concessions available inside the stadium on game days.
The move to reclassify Kyle Field was successful, however the ramifications of this change are only now becoming apparent. By changing the building classification from 303.6 Assembly Group A-5 (stadiums, et. al.) to 303.2 Assembly Group A-2 (restaurants, taverns, etc.) under the 2012 International Building Code (IBC), the university was in fact likely to benefit from some annual property tax relief. However, according to Section 3412.3.2 of the IBC, Kyle Field is now subject to local governing health codes - in this case enforced by Brazos County.
Unfortunately, Brazos County Ordinance 1939 Sec. 50-32(a)(1)(xi) allows for any situations that present a danger to public health - including "Evidence of Rodents/Other Animals" - to be grounds for closing the facility:
With construction scheduled to finish this summer and opening kickoff looming a mere five months away, it is far too late to revert the Building Occupancy Category to its previous designation. It is likely that the next move by the university will be to propose a change to the food ordinance to allow dog-friendly dining options on patios similar to what was enacted in Houston in 2011. While this would certainly allow for the presence of Reveille at game day, it would require additional construction of a formal patio area and the stadium would be required by law to allow other guests to bring their pets into that area.
Should the request to change the food ordinance be denied, Texas A&M may find itself without its beloved mascot on the sidelines for the first time in decades.
Good Bull Hunting will continue to provide complete coverage as this story develops.