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Pine Tree ISD officials hope stadium brings revitalization

By Christina Lane
Sept. 27, 2011 at 10 p.m.


With a target opening date of October 2012, Pine Tree leaders came together Tuesday night to plan for an activity complex they hope will bring a revitalized atmosphere of excitement to the community.

School district parents, community supporters, coaches, administrators and staff members reviewed five preliminary athletic complex designs, gathered components they liked of each, and formed the basic idea of what will be the future Pirate Stadium.

In May, Pine Tree ISD voters approved a $29.9 million bond that includes $20.3 million for a new athletic complex.

"Something we don't have now is atmosphere," Realtor and Pine Tree resident James Miers said. "This creates an atmosphere in that bowl."

Miers was referring to a culmination of ideas the community supports that call for an athletic complex on Loop 281 and Cherokee Street with facilities for football, soccer, track and field, as well as for hosting bands, drill teams, cheerleaders and a slew of other competitions.

The community agreed on a concept that would include a main entrance from Loop 281 slanting down toward the athletic complex.

The complex itself would feature a berm area for lawn seating, likely on the north end of the football field, which will have a north-south orientation on the property. Home team stands will border Cherokee Street. The stands will feature a concourse area and a section of the stands will run the length of the track. The new athletic complex will be 100 percent compliant with accessibility requirements. Pine Tree ISD called its bond election to build the new complex largely because the current Pirate Stadium does not meet accessibility requirements.

The community wanted a track that at least met the University Interscholastic League standards of eight lanes to surround the football field, but supported the idea of a nine-lane Myers track. Resident Chris Jones said he believed the nine-lane track would allow Pine Tree to host many track and field events. The track area also would feature areas for a long jump and pole vault, per the community's requests.

Community members and district staff were divided on whether they wanted concession stands and restroom areas located behind and below the stands on both the visitor's and home sides, or whether the concession and restroom facilities should be in separate buildings at the end of each stand.

They also are considering the idea of building seating areas for the band and drill team that would be separate from the main stands. If the community decides to take that route, the band and drill team stands would likely be at the corners of one of the endzones on the football field.

Pine Tree Precision drill team Director Sommer McBee said she supported the idea of separate seating areas because it is similar to what the district has at pep rallies and allows the drill team and band to have an easier way of getting in and out of its seating area. Resident Cynthia Hellen said she also liked the idea because it would allow football watchers the ability to see the stand routines performed by the drill team and band.

Meanwhile, a fieldhouse will feature separate entrances for players and visitors, per a request from coaches.

Representatives from PBK Architects plan to take the community's likes, which were gathered from five different designs, and create new designs that combine their preferences. The new designs will be presented at a future meeting.

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