Dr. Sue Thomas, BISD superintendent, stated that the board had recently mandated a new vision for the district to be a “premier district of choice,” which includes “creating great athletic facilities for all sports.”
The basic tenants of the facilities’ roughly $2.8 million improvements will be that the softball field will be renovated to NCAA specifications that will allow the Coastal Bend College Cougars to use the facility, in addition to the Lady Trojans. The field will have artificial turf and stadium seating. The field itself will be repositioned closer to Adams and Inez streets to allow for the positioning of a baseball practice diamond on the present football practice field.
The practice field for baseball will be natural grass, not artificial. The school has not had an on-campus facility for baseball practices since the baseball field was converted to a softball field many years ago.
The area will have a parking lot, a single access point entrance for the softball field and a combined concession, restroom and admission building.
The upgrading of the softball facilities creates a “domino effect” on the other Trojan fields of play.
In providing for the baseball practice field, the football field at Veterans Memorial Stadium will be redone with artificial turf provided by Hellas Construction Inc. of Austin. That company’s fields are presently in use at Texas Tech, Cowboy Stadium in Arlington and San Antonio’s Alamodome, among many others. The turfing of the stadium will allow the Trojan teams to practice at the stadium for the most part and will provide space for the baseball practice site to be added on campus.
The proposal also includes an area for the band to practice, which will be used later in the school year by the Trojan soccer teams for a practice area.
A single natural grass football practice area will be part of the renovations and will run north and south at the present football practice location along Filmore Street.
The agreement with Coastal Bend College will allow the Trojan baseball team to play its games at a renovated Joe Hunter Field, which the college is presently updating.
A mutually agreed upon memorandum of understanding, which has a term of 10 years, will allow the BISD Trojans to play their games at the facility and the CBC softball team to play its games at the BISD softball stadium – both at no cost to the respective entities. This agreement will become effective on Feb. 1, 2015.
The softball complex will be state-of-the-art, according to Trojan Athletic Director Jimmie Mitchell, and the complex was definitely in need of an upgrade.
“It’s a great plan and it brings all of our athletic facilities to another level,” Mitchell said.
“The softball complex will be one of the nicest in the area, if not the state.”
Improvements to both the softball field and the artificial turf on the football field will allow the district to provide a better facility for playoff contests, while softball, football and soccer maintenance costs on the grass football field will be eliminated. The artificial turf will just need to be swept about once a week, and the equipment to do so is included in the proposal from Hellas.
The projects are to commence at the earliest possible date in order to have the football stadium playable by fall, and the softball facility and the practice baseball field ready to go for next year’s seasons.