Austin, TX (February 8, 2017) –
Two years ago Waco ISD had to cancel 100 games because of the weather. The baseball and softball fields couldn’t drain fast enough. After the rains of 2015, and years of weather playing a factor in the cancelling of hundreds of games, the district made the decision to find the money to get
on the softball and baseball fields. Last week the University High Trojans and the Waco High Lions softball teams and district officials had their ribbon cutting and proudly presented the first Waco ISD
synthetic turf softball field
built by Hellas Construction.
“We are the only district between Cameron and Whitney, in an 85 mile radius that has a synthetic turf field,” said Jack Stanley, director of athletic facilities. “We went and visited fields all over to find what we wanted,” he said. “From the start, Hellas was great,” Stanley said. “They worked very hard, even during the close to zero degree temperatures,” he said. “They were on schedule and finished on time,” Stanley said.
Stanley said the district had some money at the end of the previous school year, but they couldn’t do both fields the same year. They only had enough to do a baseball or softball field. “We decided the girls deserved it,” Stanley said. We had a choice to make and we figured, ladies first,” he said.
University High School Softball Coach Karen Ramirez said, “In the past few years, it has rained a lot and we have lost so many games.” She didn’t find out the district was going to install synthetic turf until the beginning of the school year, right before the installation started. “I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “The girls couldn’t wait to see it,” Ramirez said. “We plan on practicing here some each week so the girls can get ready for their first game on February 14,” she said.
Waco High School Softball Coach Amanda Rose said, “The girls are excited.” She said, “Last year we had to reschedule so many games. Now, no more rainouts!”
Waco ISD Athletic Director Johnny Tusa said, “You lose a lot of days because of the weather. This field will be available for practices when their regular practice fields are not,” he said. “It gives us a year-round practice facility,” he said. “This also allows us to expand our horizons for post-season playoffs,” Tusa said. They will be able to host playoff games without the worry of weather canceling games and teams won’t have to question if they will get money back due to inclement weather. “We want coaches and their teams to come here and all they have to worry about is the line-up and playing ball,” Tusa said. “If it’s not lightening, we’re going to play,” he said. The turf will especially benefit the Waco community and surrounding counties by providing an alternative location after storms.
Waco ISD Board Member Larry Perez said, “It’s wonderful!” He said, “Johnny had a dream and we found a way to make it possible.” Perez said, “Now we are hoping that one day we can bring home a state championship with the Lions or the Trojans.”
The district plans to use Hellas Construction to install synthetic turf on the baseball field next school year once funds are allocated.