“This building will probably be the most used on campus in terms of number of hours,” said Kevin Ozee, AISD director of athletics, about the future multi-purpose activity centers now under construction at each of the AISD’s six high schools. “I don’t think the community realizes how special these are going to be for each campus.”
Ozee speaks from experience. He worked at Carroll ISD when it built an indoor facility in 2001. That building, he said, is used from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., six days a week, all year long. For Arlington, the future facilities are going to be a game-changer, offering many benefits to students – and not just athletes. “It’s way beyond that,” said Ozee, describing the wide-ranging impact this type of building can have on a variety of student activities.
The AISD Board of Trustees approved the guaranteed maximum price for the six MACs on Sept. 17, 2015. A notice to proceed was issued the following day and now construction is underway at each campus. Construction is scheduled to be complete by next fall. (Click here to see the floor plan and location of the MACs at each high school. Download the pdf to view larger images.)
Each of the six MACs will be identical in terms of their floor plan and space, with 77,704 square feet. But the exterior of each will be tailored to match the campus where it is located. Inside, the bulk of the building will be a 60-yard turf field.
While the field will obviously be excellent for football, it is truly meant to be multi-purpose and will be marked for football, softball, baseball and soccer. Drop-down nets can divide the field into quarters, allowing multiple sports or activities to meet or practice simultaneously. The field area will also include padded perimeter walls and a sound system. “The sky is the limit with how creative we want to be with what groups can get in there,” Ozee said. For example, “Dance and bands can come inside and do things they’ve never been able to do.” Each school will decide which sports and activities use the MAC, according to its own needs.
Needs all the high schools have include larger weight rooms and additional locker rooms, which the MACs will provide. Each MAC will house a 7,500-square-foot weight room and identical locker rooms for boys and girls. Most of the high schools’ current campus weight rooms are not adequate. But with the new, larger facility in the MAC, along with their current facilities, the schools will be able to conduct multiple strength and conditioning activities at the same time.
The benefits of the MACs extend well beyond their four walls, as the new buildings will free up space in the current school buildings. Over the past summer, Ozee visited each campus and met with the high school principals, along with representatives from the AISD fine arts, career and technical, and facilities departments. Together they discussed and presented plans for how to best use the vacated space. Those plans and ideas are still in development, and identified needed renovations will be done later with the lifecycle and deficiency work planned for each school.
Most importantly, the MACs will benefit the students. They will offer better facilities for practices, meetings and strength training, and will provide adequate locker rooms. During inclement weather or when fields are too wet, teams, groups and bands will still be able to meet and practice. In addition to all that, what really excites Ozee is the pride that these buildings will help instill in the students and community. “These are going to be some of the finest facilities in the area and even the state,” he said. “They’re going to be a point of pride.”