Athletic Facilities Undergo Needed Upgrades

Athletic Facilities Undergo Needed Upgrades
Dick Bivins Scoreboard October 1, 2014 – Athletic facilities throughout Amarillo ISD have undergone upgrades in the past year as part of an ongoing effort to maintain safe and convenient environments for both athletes and spectators.

“All of the various changes we’re making to athletic facilities are to enhance the experience for our student athletes and community,” Assistant Athletic Director Justin Hefley said. “These projects prove our commitment to making the athletic experience enjoyable for everyone.”

Lighting Retrofits
In an effort to modernize and make more energy efficient the lighting fixtures in gymnasiums across the district, AISD’s Maintenance and Construction Department is retrofitting old metal halide fixtures with new florescent fixtures. Ridgecrest and Windsor elementaries, Bonham, Fannin and Travis middle schools, and Amarillo and Caprock high schools will have these more efficient and responsive fixtures installed by mid-fall just in time for sports to really get underway. This project is the final phase of light retrofitting for middle and high school gymnasiums, and the first phase for elementary gymnasiums.

Hefley said of the new light fixtures, “Where these gyms were once like walking into a den they were so dim, the new lighting is much brighter. It’s not only easier for athletes to see movement on the courts, but better quality lighting for photography and filming of games.”

Dick Bivins Stadium
Spectators will watch game highlights and view scores on a new scoreboard this year thanks to athletics partnerships and insurance recovery due to the hail storm of summer 2013.

“The viewing quality is unbelievable,” Hefley said. “We can show a variety of camera angles on the new scoreboard which enhances the experience for the student athletes on the field and the spectators in the stands.”

The new scoreboard offers a better variety of advertising for athletic partnerships to choose from. Hefley explained with the static advertisements surrounding the scoreboard, video flash advertisements and 30-second commercials available, more partners receive advertisement space. AISD can use the stadium’s new scoreboard to showcase programs and events within the school district as well.

Tennis Courts
As renovation needs are looked into each year, the tennis courts used by AISD high schools will be resurfaced and other projects taken on as needed. In the spring of 2013, the AISD School Board of Trustees agreed to begin construction on a project to demolish the rapidly deteriorating Amarillo High tennis courts for more parking on the land-locked campus. New tennis courts were built at Bonham for use by both high school and middle school students participating in athletics and physical education.

“The courts at Amarillo High needed to be replaced because they were in really bad shape. The fences were falling and the foundation made it difficult to keep the surface in playing condition,” Project Manager Janie Archer said.

Discussion of the tennis courts at Amarillo High by the School Board first brought them to consider simply replacing the courts in the same location, upon further review however, the decision was made that parking was more valuable on campus.

The “Tascosa Rebel Center” tennis courts and facilities at Austin Middle School are currently under renovation and are set for completion by fall 2015. The tennis facility, which includes 11 courts, is used by the Tascosa tennis team and also for UIL tennis tournaments.  The renovation includes adding parking, rebuilding the coach’s office, adding locker room facilities, and adding more spectators seating.

“The neat thing about having the tennis courts near middle schools is more students can use them,” Hefley said. “We have a tennis coordinator at the Tascosa Rebel Center who works with students and community members after school and even puts on tennis tournaments for them.”

Middle School Turfs
As called for in the School Bond 2013, synthetic turfs will soon replace all middle school playing fields in AISD. Not only will these fields help prevent injury by giving a consistent and level field for athletes to play on, but not having to water the fields as if they are grass will significantly cut the amount of water used by the school district. These fields are ready year round for athletic play, unlike the field grass which gets worn down over the course of a season. The synthetic turf projects are set for completion by fall of 2015.

“Whenever an athlete can practice on the court or field they will be playing on it gives them an advantage,” Hefley explained. “Having the middle school fields be synthetic turf, like on the high school fields, gives our students a playing advantage as they go into high school.”

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