From its beginnings as a flight training facility to its evolution as a center for advanced research and development, RELLIS is a place that always looks forward.
The RELLIS Campus site owns a proud and diverse history dating back more than 75 years. Under a variety of names, the venue, north of the Brazos River and west of the City of Bryan, has played a key role both in protecting the nation during wartime and forging advancements in scientific understanding.
The nearly 2,000-acre tract of land, mostly cotton fields surrounding the small, unincorportated community of Riverside, became the Bryan Army Air Field in response to the U.S.‘s entry into World War II. During just over two years of wartime service as an Advanced Flying School, the post specialized in developing instrument-only flight training. In addition, more than 1,000 Women Air Service Pilots and a group of the nation’s first contingent of African-American aviators were also stationed at the base.
At war’s end, the field was deactivated and turned over to the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas to accommodate the influx of veterans returning to school on the nation’s newly-formed G.I. Bill. For the next five years, Aggie freshmen were housed at what was called “The Annex.”
With the outbreak of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula in the early 1950s, the base was reactivated under the auspices of the U.S. Air Force. Bryan Air Force Base became a jet-pilot training facility. Among its bevy of instructors were two young captains, Edwin Aldrin and Virgil Grissom, who, as NASA astronauts, would later become aerospace pioneers.
Five years after the end of the Korean War, the base was declared surplus and sat mostly idle until ultimately being leased to Texas A&M in 1962. Terms of the lease stipulated if productive use was made of the venue over the next 20 years, the school would receive full ownership of the property, infrastructure and improvements at no cost. During that two decade period, the site came to be known as the A&M Research Annex and hosted a vast number of scientific studies and partnerships with outside business ventures.
With full ownership transferred to the university, the venue was re-christened as the Riverside Campus in 1988. As such, it became the research home of numerous University and System-related ventures, including the Texas A&M Engineering Training Service (TEEX), the Texas A&M Engineering Research Station (TEES), and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
A new idea is born.
Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp also saw the potential in Riverside Campus and its location, though this time for a different purpose.
In May of 2016, Chancellor Sharp announced the transformation of Riverside Campus into RELLIS, a technology and testing research hub that would facilitate collaboration between private and public sector companies and provide unique educational opportunities for students
TTI Headquarters Construction
TTI Headquarters construction estimated to begin.
Blinn College Construction
Blinn College construction estimated to begin February 2017.
Blinn College Trustees vote to relocate to RELLIS.
The RELLIS initiative is publicly announced.
RELLIS is currently seeking corporate, governmental and education partners for applied research opportunities.