Daily Sun

September 15.

Corsicana Tigers versus Waco Lions at the new Tiger Stadium.

The next generation in Tiger football begins.

Tigers fans will get their first chance to christen the new stadium with nearly 10,000 other witnesses.

And just in case you didn’t get enough of that new-stadium scent on opening night, the Navarro Bulldogs will be hosting the Kilgore Rangers the following night in their “home” opener.

Athletic director Sam Thompson and Jerry Ashcraft, executive director of operations for the Corsicana ISD, hosted Daily Sun reporters for an exclusive look at what the new stadium has in store for Tiger football players and fans.

Tiger Stadium

According to district spokeswoman Kristin Zastoupil, the $44.5 million district-wide upgrade is being completed by Charter Builders. Thompson said the company has an impressive portfolio in stadium construction, with Southlake Carroll, Midlothian and Birdville stadiums among the DFW area monuments erected by the company. The stadium, itself, will cost a little under $15 million.

According to Ashcraft, the height of Tiger Stadium will be 102 feet to the top of the press box, with the light poles extending to 132 feet over the Corsicana landscape.

“It’s going to use up probably about 45 to 50 acres,” Ashcraft said about the space the stadium would use. “All this before was just solid mesquite patch.”

He added that the district purchased 160 acres, so that the district never has to worry about purchasing land again.

Thompson said that Tiger Stadium’s track will be used for school athletic purposes. When the district refinished the track at Tiger Field, they opened it up to the public to walk there but found people riding bikes and in-line skating on the new surface.

Thompson said the district plans on promoting the stadium to the athletic directors of the Metroplex on Aug. 23, inviting them down to Corsicana for a facility tour in hopes Tiger Stadium would be a perfect meeting place for teams to meet come playoff time.

FieldTurf

Dan Sheridan with Charter Builders said they will begin laying the artificial surface known as FieldTurf sometime this week and should last about three weeks.

FieldTurf, according to the product’s Web site, was created to develop a synthetic system that offered the beneficial biomechanical properties of natural grass, combined with the best attributes of a durable synthetic system: All-weather playability, low maintenance, and unlimited playing time.

In laymen’s terms: Looks like grass, feels like grass and plays like grass.

For athletes worried about turf burn, the Web site boasts that the fibre in the turf has a very low abrasion index similar to what a player may receive on natural grass.

Players won’t have to worry about their mobility being inhibited, either.

According to the Web site, design engineering allows cleats to penetrate the fiber surface, twist and release. Superior traction allows athletes to dig and cut, yet provides minimal motion-related injury exposure.

Ashcraft said the company will come in and place the artificial surface.

“The people who actually got the contract come in and put the turf down,” Ashcraft said. “They’re making it how they have to have it for their turf to be guaranteed.”

The artificial surface will be sewn together, which FieldTurf’s Web site says will provide durability at the joints and low maintenance in the future.

The rhythm will not change for Tiger soccer either.

Ashcraft said a removable paint will be used to create the Tigers’ soccer field. The paint should wear down on it’s own, not leaving any remnants of a Tiger soccer season once the fall rolls back around.

The company’s clientele is an impressive list: Texas Tech, Michigan, Washington State and Texas Christian, and that’s without mentioning many NFL teams and international soccer clubs who have made the switch.

Press Box

With the addition of a press box, Tiger Stadium will be able to hold an additional 100 attendees to Friday night’s biggest games.

Ashcraft explained that the press box can be accessed — with the proper pass — from an elevator on the groundlevel of the stadium or from the grandstand.

The first level will be an open area where people can receive a different view of the stadium. Parents with students in band have the opportunity to photograph their loved ones from this level. Also, the open area will allow football fans in wheelchairs a different vantage point.

The second level was described by Ashcraft as a hospitality area. On this level, Thompson and Ashcraft envisioned an area where local organizations can rent the space during a home football game. Corsicana ISD administration will also have a good view from the second level, as will scouts from other teams.

The third level was described by Ashcraft as a “work area”. Coaches from each team will be designated on opposite sides of the third level, with Corsicana coaches on the side closest to their fieldhouse. In the center will be an area for media, officials, scoreboard operators and announcers.

Fieldhouse

At 23,000 square feet, the new Tiger fieldhouse may be able to hold the stadium’s maximum capacity on it’s own.

One of the areas Thompson highlighted first was what he said many coaches and personnel they had spoken with on stadium ideas recommended they have.

“We were encouraged to add this room,” Thompson said as he walked into the spacious area, which he called “the meeting room”.

The room was made to serve two purposes: a place where the Tiger football team can meet and discuss offensive and defensive schemes on both sides of the room and as an area where an organization will be able to meet before a home football game.

The room is also equipped with a kitchen, so that organizations have the ability to bring food into the room.

One-third of the 23,000 square-foot building is designated to the Tigers weight/mat room.

“Y’all have never seen anything like this except in Galena Park,” Thompson said as he introduced the Tigers weight room. “There’s a lot of Galena Park North Shore (High School) in this fieldhouse.”

The lockerrooms and coaches’ office make up the other two-thirds of the structure.

The Tigers junior varsity/freshmen locker room and varsity locker room are separated by the coaches’ office. Head coach Dave Henigan will have his own office.

Thompson said the Bulldogs and their opponents will have their own designated areas, as well.

“Navarro will have it’s own dressing room and Navarro’s opponents will have it’s own dressing room,” Thompson said. “We have it structured in such a way that Navarro or their opponents will not have access to anything but their dressing room.”

*****

For Corsicana residents wanting their own tour of the facilities, Thompson said the district intends to have an open house for the public to tour the high school, stadium and Collins Middle School in late August or early September.

“To let people see where their tax dollars went to,” Ashcraft said.

Daily Sun staff writer Janet Jacobs contributed to the article.

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Phillip Barnhard may be contacted via e-mail at pbarnhard@corsicanadailysun.com.

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