In an earlier story, I addressed the condition of some of the facilities at Howe High School, with emphasis on the fact that Bulldog Stadium had hosted football since 1935. My term used to describe the facility was “dated.”
Over the years, a fresh coat of paint here and there would pretty much be the extent of any “upgrades” to the place.
A couple of years ago, a new “V for victory” lighted sign was added to the home stands facade, restoring a long-ago tradition for Howe football wins.
Now, after many years of earmarking school district funds for academic innovations, an upgrade to the football facility is underway and improvements to the adjoining baseball field and relocation of the softball field are scheduled to begin following the current season.
At the football stadium a new building is being built that will house locker rooms for middle school teams, weight rooms and coaches offices. Those offices will also be used as officials’ locker rooms, something the old field house did not have. That structure was built in the 1960s and is no longer suited to the district’s current needs.
I recently talked with Howe Independent School District Superintendent Kevin Wilson about these changes.
‘It’s been 10 years since we made improvements to our football facilities, and we feel like these projects not only will improve our athletic fields but will save us time and expense in moving our kids around to different activities,” Wilson said. “The additional space and the relocation of the softball field will allow us to better coordinate practice times and maximize our resources.”
Wilson told us that a big plus in the improvements will be the added safety of fans attending events at the field.
“We have had cars parking along Highway 5 and we worry about that,” he said. “We are adding new parking facilities which are sorely needed.”
In addition to the field house changes, a new press box will be built to accommodate personnel needed to run the events on the field. The new room will be longer and wider with separate enclosures for media, scoreboard operators and coaches.
Field events pits and approach lanes for track meets, some of which are currently located inside the running track, will be moved to new sites to relieve crowding during track meets.
Construction projects associated with the football stadium have an expected completion date of August 1.
The softball fields, currently located about one mile south of Bulldog Stadium, will be moved to a new field just north of the current baseball field. Groundwork for this field should start in April and completion of this project, along with improvements to the baseball field, should be finished around Sept. 1.
Additional parking will be added just west of the baseball field and practice fields currently at that location will be moved north of the new softball field. The baseball field will have new and expanded dugouts, concrete bleachers added and an irrigation system.
A new concession stand was built in 2007, to serve both the baseball and football fields and lights for the baseball field were added last year.
Total cost of all of the current upgrades is expected to be $1.1 million. Those funds were made available by a tax ratification election held two years ago.
“The approval by the voters allows us to maximize state funding and it was passed with the understanding that facilities upgrades would be made with a portion the monies. The majority of the TRE money went to fund instruction, transportation, technology, teacher salaries and other district needs.” Wilson said
With construction underway on a new football stadium in Denison, Bulldog Stadium will be the oldest active football field in Grayson County.
With these improvements, it will look considerably younger.