New Killeen Independent School District director of athletics David Manley said the timing was right to make some crucial decisions regarding the upcoming varsity football schedule.
On Tuesday, the Killeen ISD Board of Trustees voted 6-1 against approving the football schedule, but this worked out because the District 12-6A executive committee was scheduled to meet in a closed session six days later.
“We were kind of fortunate in the timing and the board taking action when they did because it wasn’t too late to change the schedule,” Manley said.
The trustees asked Manley to work on rescheduling the games that were tentatively scheduled to be played at Fort Hood Stadium. And he was already on it less than 24 hours after the vote.
Manley said that a new tentative schedule has been drawn up, but will not become official until after Monday’s meeting.
“Everybody I talked to has been extremely flexible, understands the situation and for the most part, most of them have no problem at all,” Manley said. “I haven’t encountered a negative experience yet; everyone I’ve talked to has been more than willing to do that.”
A total of eight football games involving Killeen, Ellison, Harker Heights and Shoemaker were scheduled to be played at Hood Stadium this season. The board members spoke during open session about the possibility of moving all those games to Leo Buckley Stadium even if it meant playing games on days other than Friday.
Trustee Corbett Lawler moved to allow KISD staff to work on rescheduling the home football games at Hood Stadium, and the motion was seconded by JoAnn Purser before the vote.
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 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. But use of Hood Stadium drew criticism from fans last season.
“The difference between Buckley and Hood Stadium is the difference between daylight and dark,” Lawler said. “Hood Stadium is very nice, but it’s not a 6A facility. I don’t mean to demean the Army in any way, they built what they could build and we wanted to see if we could make it work, but based on what we’re seeing now, I don’t think we could do it.”
In addition to the playing surface, board members cited concerns with safety since the stands are all on one side and the lighting structures are on the corner of the field instead of along the sidelines.
Lawler said there was a possibility of fan violence at stadiums such as Hood Stadium due to the stands set up on one side. He said that even though there is speculation about cuts in military spending, a second football stadium will be needed if and when fifth high school is built.
“Based on our history, I believe that we will continue to grow by at least some number and eventually we’re going to have to look at that fifth high school and when we do, we’ve got to look at that second stadium,” Lawler said. “We have room in our finances to accommodate that, if that’s what we have to do.”
Lawler first came to Killeen in 1966 and thus saw the city’s huge population growth.
According to the Texas State Historical Association, Killeen had 23,377 residents in 1960 and 35,507 in 1970. The 2010 census had Killeen’s population at 127,911 and a 2013 estimate puts that number at 137,147.
The tentative football 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.
The change in the varsity football schedule doesn’t necessarily mean the end of all KISD activities at Hood Stadium.
Manley credited the work Fort Hood and the Army has done in helping put on the games and would like to see other KISD activities at Hood Stadium.
“It’s not fair to do a comparison, my big deal is I really want to focus on how much Fort Hood has partnered with us and we want to continue to partner with them,” Manley said.