STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
LLANO — Llano High School athletes now have an edge on their opponents: the school’s new multipurpose building.
The Yellow Jackets football team had their first official practice in the artificial turf-covered facility Nov. 2.
“The kids are really excited,” said athletics director and head football coach Matt Green. “It helps build pride. It’s a positive for kids as a whole.”
Located behind the softball field at the high school, 2509 Texas 16, the facility features a tremendous sound system and the same turf at Llano Stadium. It’s about half the size of a football field.
But it’s not just for the football players.
“You start with multipurpose and look at the number of groups that benefit,” Green said. “You can get in there and conduct a full practice. Band can get in there and perform their marching routines with field marks. Right now, they paint lines on parking lots.”
The facility cost about $1.5 million and was paid for through a bond passed within the last two years. The large building doesn’t have locker rooms, toilets, or showers. Students have access to those things in the main school building.
When he worked at Lake Travis and Lucas Lovejoy high schools, he saw how the other outdoor sports such as soccer, softball, baseball, and even golf benefited from indoor facilities.
“In any sport in the offseason, you can get in there and do any type of work you want,” Green said. “You can work on skills in a variety of sports year-round. You can practice on bad weather days. The large benefit comes year-round. You have participation outside of season. That’s where I see the biggest benefit.”
That participation includes drill work for football, pitching and infield practice for baseball and softball, and chipping work for golf.
“In the offseason, you get out of the elements, and you have more room to throw and catch and do drill work,” Green said. “At Lovejoy, you’d see baseball and softball work pitching with portable mounds. You can take ground balls and do infield work. You can put bases down and make throws.”
Green recalled wanting to practice shooting in a real basketball gym instead of in a driveway when he was a student-athlete. The indoor facility will motivate athletes to work on their own, he added.
“It became a magnet for kids anytime you had a holiday or in the summer,” he said about the facilities at Lake Travis and Lovejoy. “In an indoor facility, you can line up and play seven-on-seven with each other. You can work on things you can do on a practice field. And it’s a little more fun to do it in an indoor facility.”
At some point, Green wants to add a net with uprights drawn on it so football kickers can practice field goals and golfers can work on driving.