Bearcats, Lady Cats take advantage of improved facilities

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Members of the Henrietta High School varsity football team take part in drills Friday on the new artificial turf field at Bearcat Stadium. The turf is part of a $3.06 million bond from the Texas Education Agency.

Members of the Henrietta High School varsity football team take part in drills Friday on the new artificial turf field at Bearcat Stadium. The turf is part of a $3.06 million bond from the Texas Education Agency.

Henrietta ISD students will also have upgraded educational facilities when school begins Monday, Aug. 25 as workers are in the process of finishing improvements in the elementary and high school buildings.

The renovations — including artificial turf on the football, baseball and softball fields — are paid for with a $3.06 million Qualified Zone Academy Bond through the Texas Education Agency. HISD will pay off the loan over a period of 15 years at 0.012 percent interest. The HISD board of trustees approved the low-interest loan in January.

Henrietta’s high school football and volleyball players are already taking advantage of upgraded facilities in preparation of the upcoming fall sports seasons.

With the first week of summer practices complete, Henrietta’s varsity and JV football teams took to the new field at Bearcat Stadium, while volleyball players worked on conditioning by running the newly resurfaced track. Summer workouts began Monday, but practices inside Bearcat Stadium were delayed one day as the track surface cured. The field was covered during the resurfacing process, and remained partially covered until Monday afternoon.

Drought conditions spurred trustees to approve artificial turf, though the idea was batted around when the school board outlined a $13.2 million renovation completed in 2009.

“The two things that you really benefit from using artificial turf are you’re not using any water, and you’re increasing your opportunities,” McClure said when plans to install the turf were first announced.

Without a reliable, cost-effective source of water, McClure said the school would have considered reserving the grass turf football field for school games only, which would mean no band practice or youth league football games. With artificial turf, those events would continue. Unlike grass, artificial turf provides a consistent playing surface in any weather condition, and is safer for players, said McClure.

The track will be striped next week, while artificial turf will be installed on the baseball and softball fields in the fall. Preparations for the turf is already underway.

Henrietta ISD students will also have upgraded educational facilities when school begins Monday, Aug. 25 as workers are in the process of finishing improvements in the elementary and high school buildings.

The high school auditorium has been painted and new seats and carpet installed. McClure said a new sound system is being completed and new lighting will be installed once school begins.

The agriscience department is overseeing construction of a new greenhouse, and a new roof on the technology building and Perry D. Woods Agriscience facility has been installed and tested.

New windows have been installed in the elementary and high school, and school employees are putting in shades.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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