The old Burnet High School baseball field will be the location of a new, state-of-the-art Burnet Student Activity Center. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
In May, Burnet Consolidated Independent School District voters gave the thumbs-up to more than $20 million in improvements to athletic facilities at the high school and middle school as part of an overall $52.5 million bond.
BCISD Athletics Director Kurt Jones said the upgrades are on par with how the district approaches other areas of student life, including fine arts, agriculture, career and technical education, and academics, which have incredible facilities to showcase hard work, talent, and dedication.
“I don’t think it should be any different in athletics,” he said.
The improved facilities aren’t just for the more than 1,000 students who currently use them but also for future Bulldogs.
According to a Templeton Demographics report presented during the Aug. 30 BCISD Board of Trustees meeting, the district can anticipate growing from 100 to 300 new students each year over the next decade.
By 2030, the district could conservatively have 4,760 students and possibly up to 5,870 students if growth is more aggressive.
Currently, BCISD has about 3,248 students.
To accommodate that growth, which will spill over into extracurricular activities, the district’s plans call for an $8.9 million Burnet Student Activity Center.
The center will include a 7,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art weight room for all athletes and a new indoor 60-yard practice field with an end zone and the appropriate hash marks for football, soccer, baseball, softball, and band. A raised deck will accommodate coaches, videographers, and band directors. Athletes will get drop-down batting cages as well as track lanes.
The center will be built where the old baseball field is today, located on the corner of Bulldog Stadium Drive and Third Street.
“Well over 1,000 students at BCISD will use it each year,” Jones said. “They include our high school athletes, the Esprit de Corps that includes our band and (The Highlandettes) dance team, cheerleaders, and our summer programs. We’ve had discussions with our elementary principals when they have field days to come over and use that field as well.”
Another $11.8 million will go to other upgrades at the high school and middle school, including:
redoing the Bulldog Field home parking lot;
installing artificial turf at the high school baseball and softball fields;
making upgrades to track-and-field facilities;
and converting the current high school weight room into a middle school facility.
The district will also add a six-lane track and install artificial turf on the middle school field.
Jones noted that some people might not even realize the middle school has a field because that team plays its games on Bulldog Field at the high school.
Though the total bond came in at more than $50 million, BCISD didn’t have to raise its tax rate to support it. In fact, as Jones pointed out, the district actually lowered its property tax rate for the 2021-22 fiscal year by 6.93 cents to $1.077 per $100 valuation.
“I believe we’re one of the lowest in the area. The growth reports coming our way are that we have to plan for families coming our direction,” the athletics director added. “We’re happy we can (address growth) by not raising our tax rate and improving our facilities to plan for our future growth, while lowering our tax rate.”