Construction is ongoing at West Orange-Stark High School on the press box for the football stadium and the new events center there. West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Rickie Harris spoke to KOGT during the Mustangs’ game with the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears about the construction projects that are ongoing for the district.
Harris said the new press box on the home side of Dan R. Hooks Stadium will be connected to the events center which is also under construction. Progress is good according to Harris to complete the new events center being built by G&G Construction adjacent to the high school.
The plan Harris indicated is to have the graduation ceremony for the 2022 seniors at West Orange-Stark to be held in the new events center so weather will not affect the ceremony. “We’re hoping by April we’ll be done, that depends on weather, and it also depends on the supplies so our hopes are to be ready with the events center by graduation,” Harris informed.
Dr. Harris told KOGT’s Gary Stelly that the goal is to make Dan R. Hooks Stadium a popular site for other high schools to hold their playoff football games with adequate parking and a state of the art press box to complement the turfed field. The new press box will be multi-storied and will be built between the 35-yard lines on the home side of the stadium.
An elevator will carry visitors up to the press box and to the concourse area of the event center. The current press box on the visitors side will remain as will facilities to operate the new scoreboard at Dan R. Hooks Stadium.
Opposite the visitors side of the football stadium a much larger paved parking area will be added and a new bus barn or transportation center replacing the current one on Western Avenue and Dayton Street which will then be used for storage when the construction is complete at the high school campus. Harris stated, “The one thing we do not have in the district is sufficient storage and so we want to have one centralized location where we can store things and also one centralized location where supplies can come in and then we can distribute them out to everybody.”
The area across Newton Street from the high school campus was the home of the Wesco Little League. Harris said he would be interested in purchasing that property since the district is running out of land for future expansions.
Superintendent Dr. Harris spoke about the Coronavirus which has caused the West Orange-Cove School District to implement a mask wearing mandate for its campuses in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. He estimated about 5 percent of the district’s staff and students are experiencing the effects of the Coronavirus.
Harris pointed out the disease is working its way through the families in the district starting with the North Early Learning Center, then the elementary school, and has worked its way to the middle school. “We’re working through it, I’m proud of my staff, they’re doing a fabulous job of just maintaining, and keeping everybody going,” Harris concluded.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-