Athletic facilities getting major upgrades across district

Football Turf One

By Sports editor Kyle Salomon,

When it comes to athletic facilities across the state of Oklahoma, Mustang takes a backseat to nobody.

This coming August, Mustang Public Schools will unveil one of the best athletic facilities in all of Oklahoma with the new Mustang Event Center.

The Event Center will be the new home venue for the Broncos basketball teams, wrestling team and volleyball team. The new center will be roughly 63,000 square feet and have a seating capacity of around 2,300 people, which is roughly 1,300 more people than the current gymnasium seats.Event Center Two

Mustang Public Schools Director of Athletics Chuck Bailey said he hopes to move into the new facility before the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

“That’s our goal,” Bailey said. “We think we will be able to do that. They have a roof on it right now, so they are working day and night trying to get it done. We don’t want to have to move in during the school year. It’s going to be really nice.”

Bailey said he has toured almost every new high school gym in the state over the past several years trying to gather ideas on what he wants to do and what he doesn’t want to do for the new center.

“Our facility will rival any other gymnasium in the state of Oklahoma,” Bailey said. “I have been to nearly every new gym and ours will be on par with everyone else’s.”Football Turf Three

The Event Center will have seats on all four sides of the court on the floor level. It will have seven locker rooms, athletic offices, coaches offices and a training room. It will also have an event room that can seat 60 people, a hospitality room and two press rows on the court level of the gym.

Basketball, volleyball and tennis will have their locker rooms in the new facility.

With more room opening up in the Wellness Center, the cross country, track and golf teams will have their locker rooms in there.

The current athletic training room will also expand in the Wellness Center.

“It has been a long process, but it will be worth every minute of it,” Bailey said. “The community is going to say ‘Wow’ when they see it for the first time after it’s completed.”

Event Center One

Another athletic facility project that is taking place is the new playing surface being put on at Bronco Stadium.

Field Turf is replacing the old turf with their latest and greatest form of field turf called Revolution.

The former playing surface had a lifespan of eight to 10 years and was installed in 2006, which would make it exactly 8 years old.

Bailey said the old turf was safe to play on but it was wearing down, so they decided to go ahead and put the new surface on this year.

“Some of the fibers from the old turf were coming up,” Bailey said. “It was safe for the kids to play on. We put it through some costly tests every year to make sure of that, but we just didn’t get what we paid for, so we decided to go ahead and get the new turf since we were under warranty with the old surface still.”Football Turf Four

Because of the problems with the old surface and since it was still under warranty, instead of the normal cost of $500,000 to $600,000 to install the new surface, Field Turf only charged Mustang Public Schools $175,000 to install the new turf.

Bailey said he didn’t want to wait until June to put the new surface in because of the team camps and spring football that take place early in the summer break.

“We could have waited if we would have had to, but we wanted to go ahead and get it done,” Bailey said. “We have good enough weather here in Oklahoma in December to where we could go ahead and get it in and not have to worry about it in the summer months.”Event Center Four

The new turf will have the midfield logo facing the correct way toward the home side seats and the end zones will be black instead of red because of the fading process of the color over time.

Most of the old turf will be trashed because it is not considered safe for contact anymore, but Bailey said they will keep four strips of 15-feet by 45-feet in case they have use for it down the road.

Many of the Field Turf surfaces that were put in in 2006 have had the same problems that Mustang has had. Luckily for MPS, because of that, they were able to get the cheaper price for the new surface.Football Turf Two

For example, the turf at Putnam City Stadium is having worse problems than Mustang’s old surface, but since their turf was installed in 2009, they can’t replace their surface for the low price MPS can.

It would cost the Putnam City school district close to $600,000 to replace their surface, which is more than $400,000 of what Mustang paid.

The third facility that is currently under construction is the new baseball and softball indoor complex, which is located on the south side of the baseball stadium.

The new indoor facility is expected to be move-in ready by Feb. 1 and will be state-of-the-art and comparable to any other indoor facility in the area. It will have batting cages, indoor pitching mounds, locker rooms and coaches offices. The outer wall will be made out of cement block, where most indoor facilities are metal on the outside.Event Center Three

“We have had the baseball stadium lights on for the workers at night, so they can work during the night hours as well,” Bailey said. “They are working hard and are going to have this done in eight months when it really should take them a lot longer to complete. It’s going to be impressive.”

Other current upgrades to athletic facilities across the school district include more improvements to the softball complex and upgrades to the middle school gymnasiums during the winter break.Event Center Six

“At the college level, the saying is, if you’re not building, you’re behind,” Bailey said. “Well, at the high school level now, especially at the 6A level, it’s almost the same way. Once we have everything completed, we will be up there with any other school in the state. We have a great community that wants nice things, and they will be very pleased with what we are doing.”

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