March 29, 2017 - The new Multipurpose Activity Centers – one at each of the AISD’s six traditional high schools – are all officially open. They celebrated with open houses last week to give the community a chance to see the impressive new facilities.
"We are excited about the MAC," said Arlington Principal Shahveer Dhalla. "It will provide our students with the facilities necessary to compete at the highest level. It also provides space for student groups that had none before, and will open up space around the campus for additional groups as well."
The majority of the building houses a sixty-yard turf field. While the field is excellent for football, it is truly meant to be multipurpose, marked for football, softball, baseball and soccer, and can be a great space for marching band practice. Drop-down nets can divide the field into sections, allowing multiple sports or activities to meet or practice simultaneously. The field area also includes padded perimeter walls and a sound system. Adjacent to the field, at the front of the building, is a 7,500-square-foot weight room, identical locker rooms for boys and girls, a training room, team rooms and offices for coaches. There is also a large storage room upstairs with special racks that hold uniforms and equipment.
At the Lamar MAC open house, Head Football Coach Laban DeLay told AISD Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos about a recent morning when five different sports teams practiced in the MAC at the same time. Lamar Girls Soccer Coach Kay Giocondo explained that they never miss a day anymore. Weather doesn’t stop them from practicing and there is plenty of room in the MAC for everyone.
At Martin High School, the facility is already making an impact.
“It’s constantly busy,” said Coach Bob Wager, Martin athletic director and head football coach, “which is exactly why we built it.”
Wager said the building is being used by a myriad of groups, “from color guard to track, softball to soccer, and everything in between.”
It’s the same way at Arlington High School.
“In addition to our athletic programs, we have also made plans for our band, drill team and cheerleaders to benefit from the indoor facility on a regular basis,” said Coach Scott Peach, AHS athletic director and head football coach.
In the past, rain and lightning or extreme temperatures often forced practices to be cancelled. Track teams would resort to running in the school hallways for practice.
“But those days are over,” said Wager. “This is the perfect solution. We’ll never miss another day to get better.”
Wager also stressed the importance of the spacious weight room.
“The weight room is every bit as impactful as the turf field,” he said.
He described the old weight room as getting so crowded with students that many would lift in the halls or outside.
Peach described something similar at Arlington. The previous weight room was old, cramped and lacked air conditioning. But at MAC, athletes from every sport are taking advantage of the new weight room, he said.
“Now multiple teams can work out together,” Wager said.