ROSHARON — Years of planning and construction was on display Thursday night as Alvin ISD presented its $42 million athletic facility to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house.
The Heritage Complex, which features Freedom Field, was greeted with enthusiasm and amazement as football fans, players, coaches, members of the architectural and construction teams as well as members of the community gathered inside the complex’s Liberty Alumni Hall before being allowed to tour the complex.
“What an incredible facility,” Alvin ISD Superintendent James Gilcrease said. “This has been a long time coming. It has met every expectation.”
Visitors at the facility, whether attending a sporting event or other social function are greeted by the Alumni Hall, which can seat up to 800 people in a conference-seating situation, according to Dr. Gilcrease.
“When you walk out here, what an atmosphere,” Alvin ISD Athletics Director Mike Bass said. “You have the alumni center that will help communities, will help organizations, will help other outside businesses. You can have it for alumni to watch a football game.”
The Hall overlooks Freedom Field, which is complete with artificial turf, a two-story pressbox, an open concourse and a large video scoreboard, along with seating for 10,280.
“There is not a bad seat in the house, I promise you, I’ve sat in almost every one of those seats and there is not one that is a bad seat,” Bass said. “For seven or eight bucks, you can come in here, watch a great football game, have a great view, listen to the band, drill team, cheerleaders, sound system. It is just going to be an incredible night.”
At the opposite end of the field from the Alumni Hall is the Legacy Field House, which includes locker rooms for athletic teams and officials, lighted tunnels leading onto the field and the Alvin ISD athletics offices.
The tunnels will be lit with the colors representing the home team for that particular game, whether it be Alvin, Manvel or Shadow Creek.
The overall design of the complex is similar to that of Texan Drive Stadium in New Caney, with some tweaking Bass and his fellow administrators felt like making.
“The first thing I am most proud of is how the community came together and that everybody came together to support the bond for this facility,” Bass said. “The need for a facility such as this is great here at Alvin ISD because we are averaging 1,500 students coming to Alvin ISD each year. We have three high schools, getting ready to build a fourth high school. It is exciting that the need for this was there and the community supported building it.”
As a former coach, there are several things about the facility Bass is excited about. He joked his favorite thing about it is it was built on time.
“I love the easy access of the teams coming out of the locker rooms,” Bass said. “That is going to be the neat things. We have large locker rooms and the players are going to be able to come through the lighted hallways right out onto the field.
“It is exciting to have our offices out here. I can look out my window, might have a bad day, and see a football field. That has been my profession for a long time now.”
New Alvin High School head football coach Buddy Hardin was equally impressed with the facility. His Yellowjackets will continue to play their home games at the recently renovated Alvin Memorial Stadium, but he was at the Heritage Complex on Thursday for its unveiling.
“It is a beautiful facility,” Hardin said. “It is something else. It is definitely a long way from when we started playing way back in the day.
“It is probably one of the top stadiums to me. I have been in some nice ones and to me this is equal to some of the nice ones. When I have friends and family that visit from out of state and they see the stadiums around Texas, it is mind blowing.”
Bass is just excited for August to arrive. There will be a couple of scrimmages held at the complex before the season begins Aug. 30 when Manvel hosts Clear Lake. The next night, Shadow Creek will host Summer Creek.