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Howe ISD kicks off construction on million dollar project for athletics

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HOWE, TX -- One local school district has kicked off construction on a million dollar project to improve its athletic program. The Howe Independent School District has had plans to renovate its athletic fields for three years.

But as one of the smaller districts in Grayson County, school board members say financial factors held them back. Watching construction start on Howe’s biggest project, Superintendent Kevin Wilson says some staff and students are nostalgic.

"The old building was extremely well built,” said Wilson, “it just did not serve our needs has we had today."

The school board says plans to tear down one of the oldest stadiums in Grayson County were long overdue, but financial challenges prevented them from going into action.

"Every town has their hurtles to get over,” said Scott Renfro, Howe School Board Member, “there's always something it doesn't matter how big or small you are. Everybody was real excited that we finally able to get over that hurtle."

Wilson says up until now, the funds weren't available.

"Money came available through a tax rollback election,” he said, “and the citizens really supported that and they saw the need for improved facilities, so part of that made all this possible."

The $1.1 million will help the entire Athletic Department, going toward a new field house, press box, stadium entrance, baseball dugouts and an entirely new softball field.

An added benefit of this project is the parking situation. In the past, Wilson says it's been a safety hazard because there hasn't been enough. But after construction is complete, the parking lot will double in size.

"A lot of the home games we're having visitors park out on the main road, which is dangerous," said Renfro.

In addition to size, construction workers plan to add more entrances to the lot.

“When there's a lot of traffic in here, they can get out of here in two different directions," said Shawn Stephenson, President of Shawn Stephenson Construction, working on the project.

As a parent, Renfro says the children are the driving force for this project in hopes of providing them with a facility they can take pride in.

"We have a lot of pride in Howe, just like any other town in Grayson County or any county," he said.

Wilson says construction plans are on track to have the stadium ready for use this fall and the new softball field completed by next spring.