While the impact of the refurbished Lumpkins Stadium will be felt mostly by athletes that will be performing inside it, everyone in the Waxahachie community will notice the benefits of it.
This landmark should be a point of pride for all the citizens of the city.
“Somebody said here earlier that this is a front porch and I think that’s a good thing because it will introduce thousands of people to Waxahachie in a positive light,” WISD board member Mike Lee said. “We’ve got a great community here. And things like this just make a good community even better.”
Waxahachie city manager Paul Stevens thinks this stadium says a lot about the city.
“I know it’s very cliché, but football is very big in Texas. High school football stadiums are very important, especially if you have a stadium like this that is so visible in different parts of the community,” Stevens said. “I think a stadium always says something about the community, about how progressive it is. I think the opportunity to have more people come to the city and host playoff games can be a good economic generator for the city.”
Stevens compares Lumpkins Stadium to another athletic money-maker for the city.
“When I just look at our sports complex now and see the tournaments we host there and how many people go to the restaurants and stay in hotels,” Steven said. “With that many more people coming for football games, that can have a huge impact on the economy.”
The possibility of football playoff games means the whole city can feel the stadium’s financial benefits.
“I think it will definitely attract playoff games, which will be great for the city,” said Nicole Mansell, WISD director of public relations. “People will come to the game, they will go out to eat and then do some shopping so that is revenue that will benefit the community as well as Waxahachie ISD.”
Former Waxahachie chamber of commerce member Layne Ballard thinks these playoff games will be a huge benefit for the city.
“It will be tremendous with people coming in for playoff games because that’s out of town money,” Ballard said. “People will come in and eat, buy gas and some may even spend the night because playoff games can be from anywhere in Texas.”
Indians head football coach David Ream thinks the stadium will help the city make money more than the school district.
“You don’t make a lot of money hosting playoff games because there are a lot of expenses that go with it. And if you raise your fees too much, you are not going to get any games,” Ream said. “It needs to be a reasonable amount so that we can cover our cost, but the real advantage goes to the city. With the gas stations, the restaurants, maybe some hotels, so people can visit the city and see what we have to offer.”
While Lumpkins Stadium will likely be a host site for playoff games, it will likely not be a site for an Indian playoff game.
“We haven’t played any home playoff games since I’ve been here, but we’ve done some swaps with people, telling them that they can use our field if we can use theirs. That’s kind of what we’ve done with Waco,” Ream said. “So we’re not going to be using ours, but we’re using it to try and get better spots for playoff games.”
President of the WISD board of trustees Mark Price thought money might have been a reason the bond to renovate the stadium might not have passed.
“Back when the bond was voted on, I didn’t really know which way it would go because we are in tough economic times,” Price said. “I think this shows that we have a sports background in this area and we support extracurricular activities. I think people realized the stadium was somewhat outdated and inaccessible for some of our seniors, especially with the lack of handrails.”
He wasn’t the only one to have fears about the bond passing.
“I’m glad the voters decided to approve this. I was kind of nervous, but they did a good sales pitch,” former Waxahachie mayor Chuck Beatty said. “A lot of people were dead set against it given the state of the economy, but after hearing what the school board said in their pitch they supported it.
This stadium also shows that the community will continue to evolve.
“I think this is an indication for the direction we’re headed. We’re a growing district and adding hundreds of students each year,” Price said.
“I think this means we are going to have to continue to upgrade our facilities as our student population increases.”