By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
High school football announcers may be heard over the loudspeakers at Fort Hood as early as the 2012 season.
And, ideally, Leo Buckley Stadium would be quiet on Thursday and Saturday nights.
Officials from Fort Hood proposed a partnership last week with the Killeen Independent School District in the rebuilding of the Prichard Stadium on post.
Killeen ISD Athletic Director Tom Rogers said the stadium, which will seat about 5,500 and is expected to be completed in the spring of 2012, would be welcomed as a second site to host in-town games.
"It would mean we could play all of our games on Friday night because we can have two teams in town and two teams out of town," Rogers said. "That would get us away from Saturday games and Thursday games, which was very much appealing to the school board because they really didn't like the Thursday games because the kids were tired on Friday."
A major concern that was addressed at the board meeting was public access to the new stadium.
Fort Hood officials presented three options, two of which seemed most plausible to Rogers.
One included a proposed entrance to the stadium complex off of Clear Creek Road that would be opened to the public for games specifically, another was a proposal to extend Bell Tower Road northward to also include an entrance to the facility on game nights. The third option is to open existing entrances to the public at a specific time.
"From what I understand, they were going to have an entrance to (the stadium) but you wouldn't have to go through a gate," Shoemaker coach Ken Gray said of the first two options. "I think, if it was thought out and planned out right, I think it would be a very good situation for the Grey Wolves."
While no official decision has been made, Rogers said that he's thought the $15 million stadium would become the home field for Shoemaker and Ellison, the school district's westernmost high school campuses.
Leo Buckley Stadium would then be shared by Harker Heights and Killeen high schools, Rogers added, and could be used in lieu of Prichard Stadium if a larger crowd is expected. However, no official decisions have been made.
Gray likes the possibilities, though.
"Leo Buckley is a premier stadium, but what I understand, from the drawings and the mark-up that Tom (Rogers) showed me of this new facility, it's going to be pretty awesome, also," Gray said. "It would be nice to be closer and really closer to our campus, which might improve our crowds and get a lot more of our kids there."
Leo Buckley Stadium, built in 1970 and renovated in 2003, is located on the campus of Killeen High School and is about eight miles from Shoemaker. Copperas Cove's Bulldawg Stadium is only seven miles from Shoemaker.
"People have teased me because (Shoemaker) is actually closer to Bulldawg Stadium than it is to our own stadium," Gray said. "Different coaches have teased me about that but it's such a fine facility that you'd drive a little extra to get to a stadium like Leo Buckley.
"It's really a fine facility and I really like playing there but, again, having something closer to home or having something that you can call home is important also."
The new Prichard Stadium will have a track, a covered stage with dressing rooms, parking for 1,000 vehicles and restrooms and locker rooms. Rogers said Fort Hood officials proposed Killeen ISD would provide funds for an artificial playing surface, extra seating and a video scoreboard.
"We've just got to sit down and plan and see what all they have planned and see what's going to be the best way for us to do it," Rogers said. "But, I think the school board's definitely really excited about it. Several of them said so in the board meeting the other night."
Fort Hood is rebuilding Prichard Stadium after the old stadium was torn down to allow for the $503 million, five-story, 947,000-square foot new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, which is expected to be completed in 2015.
The old stadium hosted numerous events on post, including the annual 4th of July fireworks show.
"I've been to (the old) Prichard, as a matter of fact there was a particular time when Keith (Smith) and Contrevius (Parks) were here, we had track practices out there when they were repairing our track," Gray said. "A lot of our kids still live on post and live in the Kouma (Village) area so that would be a little bit more convenient for them."
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.