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BISD looks at expanding athletic facilities

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Spurred on by new athletic director David Sine, the Bandera ISD board of trustees has begun looking at options to expand and improve athletic facilities at Bandera Middle School and Bandera High School. Sine was hired as the district's new AD and head football coach in March of this year.

He came to Bandera with a record of successful programs in his former schools: Columbus, Sonora and Flatonia. He brought with him a strength and conditioning program he calls Bigger, Faster, Stronger for boys and Leaner, Faster, Stronger for girls. His goal is to have every athlete from Middle School through High School participating in the program.

However, the district lacks ample facilities to house the weight machines needed for the program.

According to Andrew Simpson, an engineer with Archimedia, a design build consultancy company out of New Braunfels, "the current weight room at the high school is too small for the number of students." Simpson said support columns running down the center of the room prevent rearranging the weight machines. "There are also inadequate exits," he said, pointing out an important safety feature.

In order to accommodate Sine's program, Simpson advised the board to consider a new facility that would provide 6200 square feet. That would allow space for 16 machines, rest rooms, storage, a mat room and coaches' offices.

Simpson suggested three options to the board: expand the current weight room, build a separate building where the batting cages are currently located, or use a storage building located at the practice field as an adjunct to the existing room, while making plans to expand that storage building.

Meanwhile, over at Bandera Middle School, progress has been made on refurbishing the stadium and field at that location. In April, district Maintenance Director Ed Barnes brought several safety concerns to the board regarding the facility. Those concerns included crumbling supports for the aluminum bleacher seats, rotting wooden bleacher seats, restrooms that are non-ADA compliant, a rotting press box, and a mysterious "foxhole" of lines and valves cordoned off with plastic fencing. The old field house under the bleachers also needed attention, said Barnes.

At the Monday, July 8, BISD board meeting, Barnes, Sine, and engineer Frank Johnston presented some options for the BMS facility to the trustees.

Barnes reported that the aluminum bleachers seats have been removed in-house and are being recycled to replace rotted wooden seats.

Johnston reported that the old field house "looks solid. There's no cracking. It should serve you for a long time." Barnes said the field house, located under the stands, hasn't really been used, except for storage, for a few years."

Sine urged the board to consider remodeling the field house to serve as a weight room for BMS athletes. "The lack of a strength program affects all of our athletes, not just athletically, but academically," said Sine. "What you have right now is not allowing every child to lift [weights]."

Sine said that Bandera's poor showing in football for the last few seasons could be blamed on the lack of a strong conditioning program. "If we fix this, we can turn this thing around."

Sine asked the board to move quickly on making a decision. "We need to get it done before school starts," he said.

However, Johnston indicated that it could take three to four months to demolish walls and remodel the space into a weight room.

Reluctantly giving in to this bump in the road to creating the Bulldog Nation, Sine said it could be possible to bus the middle school athletes to the high school for their weight training.

Superintendent Regina Howell said the kids would accept that "if they know something better's coming."

As the dollars kept adding up for construction and remodeling, athletic equipment engineer Jeff Bresee informed the board that the track at Bandera High School was long overdue for resurfacing. "You have a latex track," said Bresee, "which has a four or five year life span before the binder begins to crystallize." The BHS track is eight or nine years old.

Bresee recommended resurfacing the track with a urethane product that has a 10 to 12 year life span, but comes with a higher initial cost.

When asked if an additional lane could be added so that Bandera could host regional track meets, Bresee said the district would be looking at a $700,000 to $800,000 expense.

In addition to resurfacing the track, Bresee informed the board that the high jump pit does not meet UIL specifications and will have to be upgraded.

Pictured: Photos by Carolyn B. Edwards

Bandera ISD maintenance crews have removed the aluminum bleacher seats from the BMS stadium and have begun using the seats to replace rotting wooden seats.

The press box at BMS stadium is just one of many areas in the structure that need to be replaced, removed or repaired.