The schedules may have been agreed upon for months, but varsity football games at Fort Hood Stadium are now under review.
On Tuesday, the Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees took action that equated to throwing the red challenge flag and called for all eight football games involving Killeen, Ellison, Harker Heights and Shoemaker High School at Hood Stadium to be moved to Leo Buckley Stadium.
Trustee Corbett Lawler moved to allow KISD staff to work on rescheduling the home football games at Hood Stadium, the motion was seconded by JoAnn Purser and approved by a 6-1 vote with Minerva Trujillo serving as the only dissenting vote.
“The more you mix those crowds, the more potential you have for violence,” Lawler said. “I know it’s a little cheaper to play out in Hood, but I don’t see how you put a price on security.”
The motion does open the possibility that games would have to be played on Thursday or Saturday nights in order to have each team play at Buckley Stadium.
Lawler cited both security concerns, with the stadium having stands on one side of the field, and the fact that KISD teams are giving up home field advantage by having to bus over to the stadium for home games. Purser spoke about the safety of Hood’s grass field compared to Buckley’s artificial turf playing surface.
“My concern would be a debilitating injury to a student that possibly would be at risk of losing a scholarship,” Purser said. “I wouldn’t want a career-ending injury either so I have concerns about grass.”
Trustee Marvin Rainwater brought up concerns to Manley about the locker room facilities and lighting setup at Hood Stadium.
“Not that it’s a bad facility,” Manley said. “Leo Buckley (Stadium) was built for a (Class) 5A/6A football experience. From the field, to the dressing rooms, to the stadium with the student in mind, coaches in mind, spectators in mind.”
Killeen ISD superintendent Robert Muller noted that no contract has been signed with Fort Hood for the 2014 season, but credited Fort Hood for working with the KISD.
“Fort Hood has gone above and beyond working with the KISD,” Muller said. “I don’t think it was ever thought to be a permanent solution and I think at that time the thought was to play football on Friday night instead of Thursday, but things change.”
New Killeen ISD executive director of athletics David Manley said there is a District 12-6A executive meeting scheduled for Monday.
No one spoke during the public forum portion of the board meeting regarding games at Hood Stadium.
The tentative schedules had Shoemaker playing three home games at Hood Stadium and the other three schools playing twice at the facility.
Shoemaker was scheduled to host Belton on Sept. 26, Copperas Cove on Oct. 31 and play Harker Heights on Oct. 17 at Hood Stadium. All three are District 12-6A games.
Killeen was also slated to take on Belton at Hood Stadium on Oct. 10 and have its home opener against Round Rock on Sept. 5.
In addition to the district game against Shoemaker, Heights was scheduled to play a non-district game against Waco University on Sept. 12 at Hood Stadium.
Ellison was scheduled to play Pflugerville Connally at Hood Stadium on Sept. 19 and Waco Midway on Nov. 7.
In June 2013, the KISD School Board approved (by a 4-3 vote) $360,000 to build two multi-use facilities, which will function as dressing rooms for Hood Stadium.
KISD began renting out the stadium in order to avoid having Thursday night games at Leo Buckley Stadium.
The cost for renting Hood Stadium for nine games during the 2013 season was $39,852, according to Megan Bradley, chief financial officer for KISD.
The cost includes facilities rental, staff support (security, ushers and custodial), electric and water costs.