Stadiums will not be ready for start of football season
Last updated 8/9/2022 at 7:05pm
Local high school football games begin at the end of August. Weather and the ongoing COVID pandemic have postponed or delayed several events and projects connected to the upcoming football season.
Inclement weather on Friday, August 5, caused a cancellation of photos to be taken of the Bridge City Cardinal football players that day. Media day as it is called has been rescheduled in Bridge City for Friday, August 12, at Larry Ward Stadium.
Work on Battlin' Bear Stadium began following the approval by the Little Cypress-Mauriceville School District's Board of Trustees. The installation of artificial turf over the entire football field, replacing the existing track, erecting a digital scoreboard at the stadium, and other renovations as funds allow are included in the multi-million dollar project.
Delays because of weather and other circumstances means work on the field will continue into August. The delay has caused LCM to bump the location of the first scheduled Bears' home game versus Hardin-Jefferson to Memorial Stadium in Beaumont.
Little Cypress-Mauriceville Superintendent Stacey Brister expressed regret on the moving of the first game's location. "Of course, we would have loved for our first home game of the 2022-2023 season to have taken place in our refurbished facilities. It's just not going to be possible right now, but we know how hard everyone is working. When the improvements are unveiled, and our players step onto the field for the first time under those Friday night lights, all the waiting will be worthwhile," Brister said.
The game between the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears and the Hardin-Jefferson Hawks will kick off at 7:00 PM on Thursday, August 25. Memorial Stadium is located west of Beaumont off of Interstate 10.
Superintendent Dr. Rickie Harris of the West Orange-Cove School District announced with great disappointment the new press box being added to Dan R. Hooks Stadium will not be ready in time for the start of this football season. Dr. Harris attributed the problem for delays in construction of the facility to supply shortages caused by the COVID pandemic.
The adjacent Event Center at the West Orange-Stark High School likewise has been delayed in its completion. The Event Center was originally projected to be open in April or May of this year in order to hold graduation ceremonies there. Voters approved both construction projects as part of a nearly $26 million bond election in 2018.
The Event Center and press box have large curtain walls that are only made by one company in the United States named Conair. They are the top company in the world producing these walls.
Conair experienced a supply shortage and now is dealing with back orders that extend from at least February 2021. "We are hoping that they will arrive soon. In the meantime, we have no choice but to use the press box on the visitor's side of the stadium again this year. Please be assured that we are doing all we can to prepare these facilities so our students, staff, and community can enjoy what they voted for," Harris stated.
The temporary press box on the visitor's side is considerably smaller and does not have the equipment that is planned for the new press box on the home side of Dan R. Hooks Stadium. Hiawatha Hickman the head football coach said the plan was to include equipment in the new press box for live streaming the West Orange-Stark Mustangs' home games this season.