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Longview ISD board OKs $3 million in athletic complex renovations

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
March 5, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Longview ISD school board trustees agreed unanimously Monday to spend about $3 million to upgrade the high school athletic complex, which includes Lobo Stadium and the baseball and softball field.

Funding will be taken from the district's general fund.

District spokesman Adam Holland said upgrades include:

<ul> <li>New women's restrooms and renovated men's restrooms on visitor side of Lobo Stadium;</li> <li>Restroom renovation on home side;</li> <li>New sidewalks and paving on the home and visitor sides to make access better for wheelchairs;</li> <li>Fencing;</li> <li>Sealing the concrete under chairs and bleachers to prevent leaking into the ground below the stadium;</li> <li>Renovations to the home-side concession stand;</li> <li>New girls softball dugouts.</li> </ul>

The board is still researching the possibility of including other options in the renovation, such as chairback seats on the visitors side at Lobo Stadium and a new scoreboard for the baseball field, Holland said.

Board President Ted Beard said safety and accessibility were the prime factors in approving the renovations.

"This a facility that the whole community uses, not just students and faculty members, so we wanted to make sure it's updated to meet all standards," Beard said.

The restrooms are also not adequate to meet the needs of the fans who attend Lobo football games, he said.

"The money is coming from the general fund," Beard said. "This is not part of the bond package voters approved a few years back."

The board has been discussing the renovations for the past few months, he said.

Renovations of the restrooms at Lobo Stadium would comprise the bulk of the expenses, Holland said. Estimates for new women's restrooms and renovated men's restrooms on the visitors side are $1.7 million; renovations for the rest-rooms on the home side are $1 million.

Other cost estimates are $306,000 for bleacher restoration; $100,000 for new girls' softball dugouts; and $15,000 to renovate the home side concession counter.

"The renovations at Lobo Stadium are long past due," Holland said. "These will improve access for wheelchair-bound patrons, as well as add restroom facilities."

The most recent renovations at the complex were lighting at Lobo Stadium and a new track, which were approved by the board in 2010 and funded by money left over from a bond package approved by voters in 2008.



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