Chancellor John Sharp oversaw the flattening of the first of 35 structures at the site of the future campus. The demolition allows the System to make way for a unique campus that will bring together four-year academic programs from the System’s universities and two-year degree programs offered by Blinn College.
“Today is a historic day in the development of RELLIS Campus,” Chancellor Sharp said moments before the first building was leveled.
RELLIS – an acronym for the Aggie core values of Respect, Excellence, Leadership, Loyalty, Integrity and Selfless Service – will be home to innovative research that will be conducted by three of the A&M System’s state agencies: the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).
The 2,000-acre campus will offer a place for testing, research and training. There also will be classrooms, test tracks and dedicated research areas.
Located at the site of the old Riverside Campus, the initial focus of the research will include: robotics; driverless and connected vehicles; advanced manufacturing; large-scale testing; and smart power grids and water systems.
The facilities are expected to encourage entities within the private sector, especially technology companies, to develop secure research facilities adjacent to the System’s site.
Many of the structures being demolished are decaying warehouses, but the System is being careful to preserve some of the storied facilities of the former Bryan Air Base, a World War II facility that once occupied the land. Particularly, the System has taken steps to preserve the chapel, flight tower, hangers and water tower.
“As we embrace the future, it is important to remember the past – and the role that the Bryan Army Air Field played in the history of our country and our community,” Chancellor Sharp said.
The System broke ground for the RELLIS campus’ first building — The Center for Infrastructure Renewal — in September 2016. Construction of several other research and academic facilities, including a building for Blinn College, will begin in the coming months. Initial construction will be completed by 2020, but students will be able to begin their studies at RELLIS in August 2018.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.2 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities and seven state agencies, the Texas A&M System educates more than 148,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $972 million in FY 2016 and helped drive the state’s economy.
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Vintage Photos of the Bryan Air Force Base
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