Drive down Brown Street and the progress on Lumpkins Stadium has been obvious for several weeks but now the massive two-story press box is starting to take shape and show to those passing through Waxahachie on Highway 287.
Soon to be Waxahachie’s newest crown jewel, the renovations on Lumpkins Stadium are on schedule and facilities director Ryder Appleton said he expects the venue to be ready for the Waxahachie Indians’ home opener on Sept. 23 against Red Oak.
“The biggest issue encountered has been the recent strong storms and inclement weather. However, with expedited schedules, this item has been handled effectively,” Appleton said. “The stadium project is on schedule for the first football game to be played on Sept. 23 as originally planned.”
The visitors bleachers were the first project to be completed as they were rebuilt and open for use during the Big Green track and field meet in April. With football spring practice now over the track is the next project on the list of improvements at the stadium.
The track is being widened to eight lanes in the hopes of holding district track meets at Lumpkins starting in the 2013 track season.
As various parts of the renovation become complete they will be turned back over to Waxahachie athletic director David Ream.
“Different areas will be turned over whenever possible so that the district can utilize them; however, no areas will be turned over until they are deemed satisfactory and have completed the city inspection process. It is too early to say when each area will be turned over at this time,” Appleton said.
Ream hopes to be in the new coaches offices located near the home stands by the time the Indians begin preparing for the football season on Aug. 8 but understands safety comes first.
“There will still be a vast amount of construction operations taking place in early August, so it is doubtful that the team will have the facilities at that time due to construction staging/safety issues,” Appleton said. “However, the district has a contingency plan in place, if needed, and has had the plan in place since the beginning of construction planning.”
Summer football camps normally held at Lumpkins Stadium have been moved to Howard Junior High near the Waxahachie Sports Complex.
In some of the completed work, two light standards are in place on the visitors side with two more expected to be placed on the home side to provide more lighting for the stadium that is home to the Waxahachie and Southwestern Assemblies of God University football teams.
“Once the athletic lighting is totally completed and the lights are turned on, the light level provided on the field will be comparable to other new stadiums in the area. In fact, this process requires a three-day ‘burn in’ process that requires the lights to be on for three days straight. So, at the appropriate time, everyone will get an advanced view of the lighting that is being installed,” Appleton said.
There will be 423 additional parking spaces created to push the parking limit to 2,446 as the vacant field near the George Solis gym on the campus of Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy has been turned into a parking lot to accommodate football games and various events held in Solis gym.
While the renovations at Lumpkins Stadium are the most obvious improvements being made from the $28.12 million bond that was passed in May, there are several other renovations that will be done this summer once school is out.
“There will be numerous renovations taking place on multiple campuses throughout the summer. There has been a vast amount of coordination between all parties involved for the past six months to try and minimize the potential conflicts that may arise to assist with the schedule for everyone involved,” Appleton said.
Once finished, the stadium will be a crown jewel for years to come.