Farmersville constructs $2million stadium

By Andrea Camarena

By January, Farmersville High School will be running a $2 million dollar stadium complete with an all weather track, stadium seating, a press box and concession stand.

One year ago, the Farmersville School District began putting together the details for the Gary L. Meek Stadium to be constructed around the current Football and Soccer field. The project is divided into three parts with three different contractors managing each portion of the project.

The entire budget for the stadium is set at $2,600,807 and is scheduled for completion by January of 2007. The district is paying for the project through a Certificate of Participation loan for the complete amount according to Superintendent Janet Jones.

The first portion of the project to be completed will be the all weather track and field. Alpine Diversified won the contractors bid to complete the project by July 31 at a cost of $750,019. The School Board increased the cost by $6,040 at its July 18 board meeting to adjust the height of the crown on the field to allow for proper drainage.

The field will be used in two seasons for football and both boys and girls soccer while the six-lane track will be used to host dual track meets in the spring.

The aluminum stadium seating and press box bid went to Southern Bleachers Contracting for a price of $596,750. The seating and press box are scheduled for completion by December 2006.

The stadium is scheduled to reopen at the start of 2007 when the concession stand is scheduled for completion. The permanent building is budgeted to cost $1,248,000 and is the most expensive element of the project.

The project is currently under construction and the field and hard dirt track have already been turned up to make way for the vast improvements.

The school will have to adjust its sports schedules for the football and both boys and girls soccer teams as the field will be unusable until January.

&#8220All football games are on the road this year as well as the first half of the soccer season,” FHS Athletic Director, Mike Jordan said. As for the traditional homecoming football game, it will be held at Exeter Union High School this fall.

&#8220It will be worth the while,” Jones said of the scheduling adjustments.

For the Farmersville High School track team, it will be the first year the school can host meets. Formerly the team practiced on the hard dirt track and traveled all season due to the lack of an all-weather track.

&#8220We will be hosting dual meets and possibly a league meet,” head track coach Marion Reneau said. The spring schedule has not yet been finalized and the team will find out in early 2007 what teams will host the league meets for the season.

The 400-meter, all-weather track will be six lanes all around and eight lanes in the 100 meter dash section. The school is also budgeting funds for additional track and field equipment including new hurdles and starting blocks, high jump and pole vault pits as well. The track and field portion of the stadium project will also include long jump pits and discus and shot-put areas.

For Reneau this season will be a revitalizing one for her team.

&#8220We were very limited with the dirt track. The new track will decrease shin splints and other injuries caused by holes and weeds on the dirt track,” Reneau said.

Reneau , who coached the team alone last season, will also be budgeted to hire on two additional coaches to specialize in throwing and jumping.

&#8220I want to build the program that much more,” Reneau said. &#8220This is a soccer community and the kids don't know that there's so much more to track than running. I'm going to teach them the fundamentals and with the new stadium: when you look better, you feel better.”

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