Waxahachie opens the football season at 6:45 a.m. Monday but it will be more than a month before the Indians can once again feel at home in Lumpkins Stadium.

Obvious improvements have been made at the facility but contractors believe the venue will not be completely finished by the Sept. 9 opening ceremony.

“The stadium will be very near completion for the Sept. 9 ceremony; however, there will still be miscellaneous items that will need to be completed for the first game on Sept. 23. Delivery of a few of specialty items, touchup and other finishing touches will still be taking place after Sept. 9,” Huckabee architect Josh Brown said.

In addition to the items that are immediately visible from the street, much progress has been made on the locker rooms, track, parking lots, concessions and press box. When it comes to the construction of a stadium, a large amount of the work takes place underground (conduit, utilities, excavation, etc.) and has to be completed prior to the natural progression of the project schedule. These items have been completed for months.

After a spring/winter with several adverse weather conditions, the dry summer has helped the crew overcome some of the setbacks it first faced.

“The sheer volume of the work has been one of the toughest aspects of the project. A stadium project requires the coordination of more than 30 different subcontractors, each needing to complete their scope of work in a small location dependent upon the completion of work by the preceding trades,” Brown said. “Stadiums of this magnitude are usually 14- to 16-month projects, but because of the helpful assistance of WISD and Huckabee, this schedule has been compressed to approximately 10 months. The lack of rain would have been much more helpful if it had occurred during the excavation and underground portion of the project that occurred in the beginning.  There were times when the muddy conditions hindered the progress of the project and those days are virtually impossible to make up, but we are progressing well and doing the best we can.”

Waxahachie athletic director David Ream said he expects to practice on the Lumpkins turf Monday but the entire stadium will not be turned over to WISD until the contractors feel it is safe.

“The safety of everyone involved is our main priority. As areas are deemed appropriate to be turned over, then we will do so,” Brown said. “We realize how important it is to the district to have the facility to prepare for the upcoming football season and we are making every effort to do so as expeditiously and safely as possible. Our crews have been working six and seven days per week for months to achieve the quickest turnover date possible.”

One of the highlights of the construction process, the installation of the Waxahachie logo on the new press box, is a couple of weeks away but “Lumpkins Stadium” has already been placed facing the field and can be seen from miles away.

Battling the heat, snow and spring rain the crew is doing its best to make sure Lumpkins Stadium shines Sept. 23 as the varsity Indians make their home debut against Red Oak.

“To complete a project of this magnitude, as well as the renovation projects to the other district facilities, things have gone relatively well. There are always bumps in the road with any construction project, but that is the nature of the business. Again, it takes the great cooperation of all parties involved to make these projects a success. It has definitely been a team effort,” Brown added.

Contact Chad at chad.wilson@wninews.com or 469-517-1454.