Lumpkins Stadium was finally able to show off its new face lift Friday afternoon when select members of the community were invited to a VIP reception in the new press box.
Reception guests, who totaled about 100, were also taken on a guided tour of the new facility from Huckabee architects.
“This is beautiful and fabulous and it has 21st century amenities,” Nicole Mansell, WISD director of public relations, said. “Who can not be proud of this? What football player or soccer player or track member can come to this stadium and not be filled with pride? They will want to represent Waxahachie in better fashion than we already are because they have this to be proud of.”
Both levels of the new press box were shown off to guests first. Then guests were taken under the stadium to the new locker room and then led onto the field through the same doors the team will enter the gridiron from.
But most of the guests were awe-struck by the press box.
“Are we really in Waxahachie? It’s amazing being up here,” Waxahachie city manager Paul Stevens said. “This definitely feels like a college stadium.”
Stevens is honored to have Lumpkins Stadium a part of Waxahachie.
“So many times in our business you never see things come to fruition,” Stevens said. “A lot of the time you’re just pushing paper, but this is something from the ground up that’s actually happened and now you see the fruits of the labor.”
Former mayor Chuck Beatty is also surprised to see this vision come true.
“I think this is a great facility, I never thought we’d have it in Waxahachie though,” Beatty said. “I think this is one of the best choices we’ve ever made.”
Former member of Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce and Indian fan Layne Ballard is excited about how this stadium stacks up with others in the area.
“When you look around the county at Ennis, Midlothian, Red Oak and Lancaster, I think this is the better of all of them,” Ballard said. “They took the best from each of those and improved it. And after 40 years it was time for a new one.”
Ballard thinks that the classiness of the new press box will be advantageous for the city for years to come.
“I think this is upscale and will really help us get playoff games,” Ballard said. “We’re only using it for four varsity games this year. But SAGU will use it. Soccer and JV sports will all use it. But playoffs will be important for revenue.”
While the new press box might be the shining gem on top of the stadium, head coach David Ream is excited about where his team will spend most of its time.
“I think everything in there will be 20-25 percent larger than it was before. We were cramped in there before. Our team room wouldn’t hold the whole team,” Ream said. “We didn’t have any other meeting rooms for offensive and defensive staff meetings. So we’ll have that space, which excites us as much as anything. The locker rooms will be nice and there will be room for 60 whereas the old one only had room for 50.”
The locker rooms aren’t the only thing that will fit more players comfortably.
“We’re excited about the space as much as anything and the weight room,” Ream said. “That used to be 50x50 and now it’s 100x50. We were bumping elbows and it became a safety issue.”
Mark Price, president of the WISD board of trustees, is glad to have the revived stadium as a reminder of how great a man its namesake was.
“The stadium is a wonderful tribute to the legacy of Stuart Lumpkins,” Price said. “It’s great that this community came together, passed the bond and we were real frugal in putting this package together and this should take us decades into the future.”