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Athletic facilities to receive boost in bond proposal

Midwest City football players practice last week. Mid-Del Schools hopes to build a multi-purpose facility on the site of the team’s practice field. Photo by Jeff Harrison

Editor’s Note: This is the second part in a series of articles about projects included in Mid-Del School District’s upcoming $492 million bond proposal. The election is set for Oct. 10.

By Jeff Harrison
Managing Editor

Mid-Del Schools made significant improvements to athletic facilities in a 2017 bond issue.
Officials say more work is needed.

The district is hoping to upgrade athletic facilities across the district as part of the upcoming $492 million bond proposal. The projects include multi-purpose indoor facilities at each high school, football stadium improvements, new video scoreboards and more.

The bond election is set for Oct. 10. School officials project that the 20-year bond issue will increase property taxes by $2.75 per month for a house valued at $150,000.
Football stadiums

The football stadiums underwent major renovations as part of the 2017 bond issue. And more work is planned as part of the upcoming proposal.

“We’re still working on the stadiums. Over the last few years, I’ve had comments from people that are noticing the differences between the three stadiums, and I think it’s good that people notice that because it just shows the progress we’re making and where we hope to be everywhere,” said Cobb.

Midwest City’s Jim Darnell Stadium underwent a near complete overhaul in the past bond issues with new seating, concessions, restrooms, ticket office, locker rooms and coaching offices.

Carl Albert’s Gary Rose Stadium received the least number of upgrades in the past bond issue. The home seating was expanded and new concessions, ticket office and restrooms were added on the home side, as well as a new entrance. The new bond proposal would include upgrades to the locker room, visitor side with new seating, concessions, and restrooms.

“They didn’t touch anything on the visitors side (in the previous bond issue) so we’re talking about an end zone building that is concession, locker rooms, training room and ticket booth,” said Andy Collier, Executive Director of Athletics and Student Activities

Del City’s Robert Kalsu Stadium also saw a lot of improvements in a past bond issue. The home side seating, concessions and ticket office were replaced. New concessions and restrooms were added on the visitor’s side. New visitor seating will be included in the new proposal.

“Del City did not get everything that Midwest City did on Bond 35, but what they lacked was the visitors side and that’s something that has to be addressed,” Collier said.

The new bleachers at Carl Albert and Del City will be shorter and wider than the current bleachers.

All three stadiums would also receive new video scoreboards, LED lighting, audio upgrades and track resurfacing. Collier said the LED lighting will be much brighter and help save money in the long run. The district hopes to generate advertising revenue with the video scoreboard.

Middle schools also use the high school stadiums for football and track.

Multi-purpose facility
One of the biggest additions to athletics would be indoor multi-purpose facilities at each of the high schools. The indoor facilities would include a 60-yard artificial turf field, locker rooms, and athletic training facilities. The facilities would not be air-conditioned but would have large fans for circulation.

Collier says the facilities will be used by all sports as well as meetings.

“There is not one sport that it will not touch,” he said.

The facilities could be used for non-athletic events such as meeting space, professional development, and adaptive physical education classes for special education.

“We have adaptive PE classes for some of our special students and the gym floors and activity room floors are a lot harder than what you’d experience on turf,” said Stacey Boyer, communication director for Mid-Del Schools. “And for professional development training, we have to go outside of our district so much because we don’t have large enough spaces. We have to utilize churches and whoever will host us.”

The multi-purpose facilities would be built on top of existing practice football fields at Carl Albert and Midwest City high schools. Del City’s would be built on the west side of the football stadium, near the visitor seating. The school does not have a separate practice field.

The district believes they will not need to replace the existing turf for the multi-purpose facilities.

The facilities will cost about $22.82 million for Carl Albert and Midwest City, and $27.58 million for Del City.

Tennis Courts
All of the tennis courts will be resurfaced and receive new fencing. The tennis courts at Carl Albert Middle School could also be relocated as part of a separate building project.

The bond will include $2.9 million for each high school program. The district plans to install artificial turf at each field and make other improvements. The work will differ at each site.
The district is considering relocating locker rooms for all of the sports to the multi-purpose facilities which are located near the fields, with the exception of Del City softball which is located at Del City Middle School.

“Not everything is going to look the same,” Collier said.

Scoreboards at fieldhouses
Mid-Del plans to install video scoreboards and upgrade sound systems at all three high school fieldhouses. The one-sided video screens would be placed on a wall and replace the traditional scoreboards. The scoreboards would benefit basketball, volleyball and wrestling, and could be used for physical education classes and other events, Collier said.

The district would also add shot clock equipment at each site. The OSSAA does not currently use a 24-second shot clock for high school basketball but is considering adding it in the near future.
The lighting and flooring were upgraded at all the fieldhouses as part of a past bond issue. The district is also upgrading the lobbies at Midwest City and Del City.

Uniforms and equipment
Mid-Del receives funding every July for athletic uniforms and equipment for high school and middle schools as part of Bond 35. The district included additional funding in the new bond proposal to continue this practice.

“This is one of the best things we’ve ever done, and this will allow us to keep doing that,” Collier said.

Swimming facility
A new indoor swimming facility is also included in the bond proposal. The district plans to partner with the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City for a new aquatic center that could be used by the Mid-Del swim team for practices and competitions.

The YMCA would own and operate the pool. Mid-Del would sign an agreement to use the facility for practices and competitions.

The swimming pool is part of a separate proposition on the ballot. If the proposition passes, the district will have $10 million to invest in an aquatic center as part of a rebuilt YMCA in the Mid-Del area. If the partnership doesn’t materialize, the district won’t sell the bond.

“Having it separated out gives us some protection for the investment but also once the partnership comes together and we will have a stake in that,” Cobb said.

Kelly Kay, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, has expressed the organization’s desire to upgrade the YMCA in the Mid-Del area including a new pool. He presented the project during a bond steering committee earlier this year.

City of Midwest City officials have discussed partnering with the YMCA and Mid-Del Schools on the project. They have not announced a formal agreement.

Mid-Del has seen a growing need for a swimming pool. The high school team has more than 60 swimmers. In the past, the district practiced and hosted meets at the Rose State College pool. The college closed the pool last fall due to ongoing maintenance issues. The high school swimmers practiced early in the morning and late in the evenings at pools across the metro. That included the current Midwest City YMCA pool which is not large enough.

“We’re one of the largest swim programs in the state and it continues to grow,” Collier said. “This would allow them a place to practice. And we could host meets but couldn’t host the state meet.”

Cobb said a pool could also be used to promote water safety for students and the community.

The pool would be owned by the YMCA and open to the public.

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