Regents OK $13 million for 5G Network Cable, Water and Electric work
BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — There is nothing glamorous about infrastructure, even these days as Congress debates the meaning of the word.
However modern, high-quality infrastructure is critical to a vital strategic goal shared by the Texas A&M University System and the U.S. Army: to build a world-class ecosystem for military technology innovation on the RELLIS Campus. It’s called the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC).
The Board of Regents took an important step toward the shared goal Thursday by appropriating $13.1 million for infrastructure improvements on the west side of RELLIS. The improvements will undergird two testing ranges for next generation technology, the Innovation Proving Ground (IPG) and the Ballistic, Aero-optics and Materials (BAM.)
The infrastructure package includes basic improvements — water, sewers and electrical power — to areas around the runways of the former Army and Air Force base. It also includes fiber cabling to fully support 5th generation (5G) Internet capabilities.
“5G is a really important to our partners and potential partners,” said Ross Guieb, a retired Army Colonel serving as BCDC executive director. “The intel community, DOD and defense industry leaders are all watching closely with interest and excitement.”
Army commanders and other U.S. military leaders eagerly await completion of the BCDC over the next several years. The $200 million complex is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Army Futures Command and The Texas A&M University System, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station and the State of Texas.
The BCDC includes the IPG, the BAM and other facilities that will bring together researchers from U.S. universities, the military and the private sector for collaboration, demonstrations and high-tech testing of military prototypes.
Regents Thursday also approved three amendments to enhance BAM’s instrumentation for research and testing.
BAM will host enclosed testing of hypersonic vehicles, directed energy beams and the impact that hypersonic blasts have on various materials.
The changes improve the tube’s rail guidance system, add blast target tanks and a soft catch assembly that will safely recover flown objects for post-flight analysis and data collection.
The combined cost of the changes is $3.5 million, bringing the total estimated cost to about $42.5 million.
At one kilometer long and 2.5 meters in diameter, BAM will be the nation’s largest enclosed hypersonic test range. It will bridge a critical gap in U.S. research capacity between lab-scale experiments and open-range tests, which can cost tens of millions of dollars per test.
Regents Thursday also:
- Authorized representatives of the Texas A&M System to negotiate with the City of Galveston for purchase of the portion of the Seawolf Parkway that runs through the Texas A&M University at Galveston campus. Regents also authorized additional funding discussions to support the realignment of the Pelican Island Bridge to redirect hazardous materials around the campus.
- Authorized a new ground lease with the Association of Former Students on the Texas A&M University in College Station to expand the Clayton W. Williams Jr. Alumni Center. The Association is planning to build a Grand Hall of about 80,000 square feet and make other improvements to host families on Aggie Ring Days, hold group events and offer students more ways to explore Aggie traditions and core values.
- Authorized Texas A&M System representatives to negotiate changes to an existing lease of space within the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM) in College Station to FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Texas (FDBT.) The amendment is primarily to extend the lease term from 2024 to 2034 prior to FDBT investing $6 million in upgrades at the location, where the company produces virus and cell banks for vaccine manufacturing.
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 $6.3 billion. The Texas A&M System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts each year. Systemwide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy.
Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(512) 289-2782 cell