Arlington

Arlington school bond includes millions for high school football, softball renovations

Arlington receiver Eli Lemonds is brought down by Martin’s defense during the first half of a high school football game at UTA Maverick Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019.
Arlington receiver Eli Lemonds is brought down by Martin’s defense during the first half of a high school football game at UTA Maverick Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Special to the Star-Telegram

New sports facilities in the Arlington school district won’t actually be new, if voters approve the district’s request for a $956.9 million bond.

Eric White, athletics director for the district, said the plan is to renovate existing facilities, such as the football field at Martin High School.

The district expects to devote $19 million — about 2% of the total bond package — to renovating a football practice field into a competition facility. Renovations to Cravens Field at Lamar High School and Wilemon Field at Sam Houston High School are anticipated to cost a combined $32.6 million.

Softball fields at all six high schools, which are also getting some attention in the bond, have a combined estimated cost of $6.96 million.

The district will need a new field soon. Arlington students have used UTA’s football field in recent years, but the university has other plans for that property.

Jeff Carlton, director of communications and media relations for UTA, said Maverick Field, which the district rents, needs “significant improvements to maintain it as a viable venue in the years ahead.”

Carlton said the university hasn’t set in stone any plans for the future of the field.

Ryan Pierce, director of bond communications for the Arlington school district, said UTA is working with the district to provide a football venue until a new one can be arranged.

Pierce said the plan to renovate the practice football field at Martin High School, as well as renovate practice softball fields at all high school campuses, will help reduce the cost to taxpayers.

The football field will need new restrooms, concession stands, ticket counters, bleachers, locker rooms, press boxes, scoreboards and parking accommodations. The field will also need new artificial turf and track surface.

Softball fields will require dugouts, bleachers and newer fencing to act as competition fields.

Arlington school district women’s softball teams currently play at a softball complex at Workman Junior High. District officials said the softball fields will allow each team to host real home games instead of having to travel to another part of the city.

James Hartley is the Arlington city government reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He is passionate about local politics, true stories, movies and baseball. He has worked for the Tyler Morning Telegraph, D Magazine and the Dallas Observer. You can connect with James on Twitter @ByJamesHartley or Instagram @JamesTakesPhotos. Want reporters like James to help you stay informed about your community? You can help the Star-Telegram continue to offer great local, political, sports and culture news by purchasing a digital or print subscription today.
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