Seventy four years after the establishment of the historic Alamo Stadium, comes new life for the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) arena in 2014. Finishing touches are being made this week in anticipation of the rededication ceremony this Saturday at 7 p.m. when more than 2,000 SAISD student athletes, band members and spirit groups will celebrate their new stadium with "an Olympics-style parade."
Funded by the $35 million 2010 SAISD Bond, the arena has hosted thousands of unforgettable high school football games – even earning a place on the National Register of Historic Places in September 2011. A renovation priority was set on complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the new stadium boasts completely new guts, including sewer, water, and electric upgrades.
“This is a major transformation. The old stadium was practically dysfunctional at one point,” said SAISD Associate Superintendent Kamal ElHabr at a media preview event Tuesday morning. “It is our duty to preserve this facility.”
Perched on top of a limestone quarry overlooking downtown, the stadium nicknamed “the rock pile” provides beautiful views of downtown San Antonio. State of the art artificial turf has been installed, leveled, and widened to accommodate soccer as well as football games.
“This is the granddaddy of them all, the most historic stadium,” said SAISD Superintendent Dr. Sylvester Perez.
Interim Athletic Director and retired coach Frank Arnold once played in the stadium back in the 1950s.
“It’s a great day for students and patrons of SAISD (the stadium is) second to none … The history sets it apart from the rest," Arnold said.
So what updates can fans, athletes, and faculty expect? Here are some highlights:
- "Real-Grass" experience artificial turf
- An all new digital scoreboard; 44 feet wide by 24 feet tall
- All-weather track
- New press box
- Colorful, aluminum benches replaced the old, wooden seating
- New locker rooms, showers, and privacy stalls
- Refurbished concession stands to offer a greater service capacity
- Increased seating and new elevator for physically disabled attendees