In the fall of 2008, the Celina ISD school board proposed a $34.3 million bond as part of a proactive 5-year plan to accommodate the growth expected in Celina. The bond proposed was to be used for 63% academic and 27% athletic expenditures. The academic proposal included 16 new high school classrooms, to finish a proposed elementary school, technology upgrades and money for new district buses. Celina athletics would receive new softball and baseball fields, an indoor practice facility, field house, weight room and dressing rooms in the 2008 proposal.
The bond was put before voters in Celina and passed with a wide margin of residents in support of the proposal.
The economy took a down turn and the bonds were not able to be cashed in so they were held until a time they could be fully utilized appropriately.
Fast forward to 2016 and Celina ISD was able to use the funds to begin some of the academic projects for which the 2008 board planned. The construction of O’Dell Elementary began in 2016, utilizing a remainder of the 2006 bond funds as well as some of the 2008 funds, and was completed in time for the 2017-2018 school year. In March of 2018, the new wing of Celina High School was completed along with a concession stand at the high school field. Students at the high school saw major technological improvements with a 1-1 ratio on laptops and computers on wheels, or C.O.W.s, for other campus’ in the district. The monies were also allocated for a purchase of new buses, which were desperately needed to accommodate the growth.
“We have been able to mark off all the things academically we set out to do with this bond,” said CISD Assistant Superintendent Bill Hemby.
The next step is to move forward with the athletic upgrades.
“We looked at a so many things and it is just time for us to move these kids up to the ‘Hill’ for a number of reasons, safety being a big one,” said Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Bill Elliott.
While safety is definitely a key component, space is a major factor as well. Currently, fans from both teams are forced to park along a busy street and walk, sometimes far distances, just to watch a game at Bobcat Field. Then when they arrive, often times there are no seats for everyone.
Claycomb Architects, a valued partner with Celina ISD having completed the high school wing ahead of schedule and under budget, presented Celina ISD board with a $24.6 million proposal for an athletic complex that would address both the safety and space issues.
The proposal, which is surprisingly similar in design to the 2008 vision, includes plenty of home and visitor parking as well as seating for 6,500 with the capability to increase to 10,000 if needed. It also includes an indoor multi-purpose facility, coaches offices, banquet space and state-of-the-art film and weight rooms. The option for baseball and softball fields as well as eight tennis courts were presented as well.
Celina ISD also has a number of contributing opportunities to assist with the funding of the optional projects. The complex naming rights for 15 years are available for a $10M contribution and the scoreboard is $800,000 for a lifetime term.
“Of course all of these contribution figures are negotiable. Our goal is to build the best complex we can and we are committed to keeping our promise to the voters. We trust Claycomb and Northstar Builders to get this project done right for the community,” said Hemby.
The district says the stadium will be completed before the 2019 football season begins, barring any unforeseen circumstances.