Relocation of athletic fields to make room for Extraco Events Center expansion

Posted at 5:07 PM, Sep 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-13 20:47:22-04

Several athletic fields near Waco High School will be relocated to make room for the expansion of the Extraco Events Center. 

Waco ISD recently signed off on an agreement to do a land swap between McLennan County and the City of Waco for the project to move forward.

Paul Tyson Field will be demolished and rebuilt where the City's Cobb Recycling Center and some of the Lake Air Little League fields stand. The Lake Air Little League and Challenger fields will also be relocated to make room for the new buildings. The addition will allow the Heart O'Texas Fairgrounds to improve livestock activities and add space for athletic tournaments. 

"They're going to get a facilities for livestock shows, where they can host youth volleyball and basketball. Our athletes, soccer, track athletes and middle school athletes will get a new facility and then ball players will get a whole new set of fields," Waco ISD School Board of Trustees President Pat Atkins said.

In 2017, voters approved an increase of the hotel-motel occupancy tax and rental car tax to fund the $34.1 million project

Atkins said students will be able to continue using the Paul Tyson field, which has a 9,000 seating capacity, for soccer practice, track and middle school sports until the new track and soccer complex is built.

The county will pay $2.4 million on the new stadium that will have a 500 seating capacity. Waco ISD plans to discuss paying to include additional seating and locker rooms. 

Live Oak Classical School uses the stadium for its Varsity home football games but it plans to convert a practice field on campus as its main field. 

Lake Air Little League fields and the Challenger field will also be relocated near Cobbs Drive once the project moves forward. According to Waco ISD, during construction of the new fields, players will be able to use the existing fields. 

Lupe Rosas with Challenger Little League said he doesn't know the impact the change will bring. However, he said the number of children participating in little league baseball for special needs has grown so they need more than one field to play in.

Bobby Johnson who used to be a softball coach for the Lake Air Little League said he is excited about the change.

"I think it's going to be great. They are going to change it up and make some good fields out there," Johnson said.

The 84-year-old also looks forward to the development of the plans for the Extraco Events Center.

"I'm in favor of any expansion as long as it's good," Johnson said. "I think it is going to be great. I think we will have a lot of addition to it."

One neighbor Central Texas News Now spoke with who is against the expansion of the Extraco Events Center said she will be sad to see the fields she used to play in torn down. 

Waco Spokesman Larry Holze said the city plans to choose another location to replace the recycling center. 

There is no timeline currently for the demolition and construction of new facilities. 

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