By Marin Murray.

A new indoor turf facility, part of AISD’s newest approved projects, is estimated to be built by the spring of 2024 and will be used by not only athletics but cheer, ROTC, band, and other programs.

  “I think it’s going to be a great addition,” principal Emme Siburt said. “I’m just excited about the opportunity to see how many uses we get out of it and how our athletic programs will benefit from it, but also our fine arts programs and any other programs that need it.”

The addition is only part of the $24 million in improvements that were approved by the AISD Board of Trustees back in February. Other projects include the same indoor facility at Cooper High School and a new press box at Shotwell Stadium.

 “It will be very, very positive for our campus,” head football coach and boys’ athletic coordinator Michael Fullen said. “I’m excited about the direction that we’re going with our facility upgrades and looking forward to restoring our campus.”

The indoor field will be similar to those at Weatherford and Azle high schools, as those were the models used by the district. The 70-yard field will include netting, sport-specific equipment, and will be lined for various sports such as baseball and soccer.

 “I’m excited about all of the new workouts we’re going to be able to do inside,” freshman runner and soccer player Zoe Vann said. “Now we don’t have to miss practice, because we’ll be able to practice inside.  We’re going to be able to reach the levels that other schools are at that have had these facilities longer than we have.”

The facility will be built using surplus operational funds in the AISD budget. It will allow AHS to compete on a more level playing field with schools they compete against such as Wylie High School who have already had indoor facilities.

 “I think it will help Abilene High by giving us access to an indoor area when we’re having bad weather,”  Marion Smith said. “While I am not able to enjoy it myself, the future cadets will be able to practice on an actual football field with a closed exterior, especially when there are preparations for the Veterans Parade or the other parades that we do.”

The location of the indoor facility on campus has yet to be determined, but the impact of this addition is already highly anticipated.

“I’m excited,” girls’ athletic coordinator RoseMary Martin said. I think it will be a great asset to all of our kids, not just our athletes, but other extracurriculars as well.”