Austin ISD will look at three scenarios to upgrade aging House Park

House Park was originally built in 1939 and Austin ISD says the facility is in need of an upgrade.

House Park was originally built in 1939 and Austin ISD says the facility is in need of an upgrade.

House Park was originally built in 1939. On Memorial Day 2015, the downtown stadium that hosts football games for Austin, Anderson and McCallum high schools flooded and was closed down for months of repairs.

However, more than 70 years after its construction, House Park still stands in the middle of an ever-changing downtown Austin. It now has a new turf field that was installed four years ago after the flood, but the rest of the stadium’s amenities are aging and in need of repair.

On Aug. 12, AISD staff presented a draft of the district’s 2019 Facilities Master Plan, which outlines potential upgrades to the district’s athletics, fine arts and career and technical education.

According to that master plan, House Park’s issues include no parking lot lighting—which creates a safety hazard during night games—press boxes that are undersized and don’t meet accessibility or safety codes, concrete bleachers with exposed rebar, restrooms that are in need of replacement and concession stands that are too small.

“Almost every element of House Park is in need for an improvement or upgrade,” the master plan draft said.

According to the report, House Park is used on about 42% of the days that it is open. The stadium is split nearly in half between events, with 50.5% of its usage coming from football games and 49.5% soccer matches. In the 2018-19 season, the field was also used for youth Pop Warner football games and as a home field for the Austin Sol, a professional ultimate frisbee team.

The report does not outline any specific costs for any of the three House Park scenarios or any upgrades at the other facilities throughout the district. However, it does say generally that a future bond referendum will be necessary to fund the 2019 Facility Master Plan’s recommendations.

“Bond referendum language will clearly outline the scope of work for each facility, in the short term and long term,” the report says.

The report presented three scenarios for the park—renovations, large scale renovations and a rebuild. A final version of the Facilities Master Plan will be presented to AISD trustees for approval this October.



Scenario A: Renovations
This scenario would demolish the press box on the west side of the field to make way for more seating, while constructing a new press box on the east side. Otherwise, the field will look from the outside similar to what fans see now at House Park. However, the project would upgrade some of the areas that are most in need of replacement or renovation—including locker rooms, the scoreboard, the concession stand and restrooms.






Scenario B: Major Renovations

Much like the first scenario, this project would add a digital scoreboard, bring the entire facility into compliance with the standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act, install parking lot lighting and rebuild locker rooms.

The major difference between the first two scenarios is with seating. The new press box would go on the west side instead of the first scenario’s proposal to put it on the east side, and the seating configuration would be changed to accommodate that new press box with an elevator.

In addition, berm seating would be added behind the southern end zone near the new scoreboard.






Scenario C: Rebuild

Instead of renovating the specific areas of House Park that are outdated, this scenario would completely rebuild the stadium at a higher elevation out of the flood zone, with a suggested one-story parking garage to go in underneath the field.

The scenario would decrease the seating capacity at House Park. According to the report, the stadium currently seats about 5,000 spectators and averages 3,034 fans per game. The report said that only one annual game, the “Taco Shack Bowl” between city rivals Anderson and McCallum, that draws a crowd exceeding the capacity of the stadium.

In addition to raising the field, this scenario would include a community space at the southern end-zone for academic and professional development with seating for 300 that would be used for community meetings, banquets, and “various CTE related fields.”




MOST RECENT

Photo of Austin's skyline
Austin health authorities outline COVID-19 surge risks while eyeing possible shift to Stage 2

While Austin and Travis County remain under Stage 3 guidelines, hospitalizations have moved into possible Stage 2 territory.

Giselle Copa, an Austin Community College pharmacy student, prepares a COVID-19 vaccine for administration. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
At least 81% of Austin ISD staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, per district data

After the district had staff sign up for bonuses only available to fully vaccinated employees, the district can count its vaccinated employees at over 8,000.

"The Dude" is the signature burger at Lebowski's Grill. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Lebowski's Grill upends expectations in Austin; first Houston-area Costco Business Center opens in Stafford and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 26.

More than 35,000 passengers traveled through the airport on Oct. 25, the Monday following the 2021 F1 U.S. Grand Prix. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport sees busiest day ever following 2021 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix

The new record topped the previous busiest day by more than 3,000 passengers.

City, county and community leaders gathered Oct. 21 to share an update on funding of the $515 million Summit Plan aimed at housing thousands of residents. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin leaders outline $515M homelessness spending plan with more than 75% of funding in place

Officials provided an update on a $515 million plan to house thousands of people experiencing homelessness and provide related social services Oct. 21.

The Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees met Oct. 25 and discussed the possibility of approving a bonus for all district employees. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Dripping Springs ISD considers approving bonuses for all district employees

With staffing shortages persistent, the district is considering upping its annual bonus amount from last year's $500 lump sum payments.

The new Oak Hill H-E-B is scheduled to open Oct. 27. (Courtesy of H-E-B)
New Oak Hill H-E-B in Southwest Austin opening on schedule

The 90,000-square-foot space will open a mile west of the old Oak Hill store.

The plan calls for traffic control methods to make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. (Courtesy Living Streets)
Austin City Council paves way for more play, exercise on neighborhood streets

The program aims to make it safer to use neighborhood streets for community events.

New statewide maps will go into effect Jan. 18, 2022. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
Gov. Abbott approves new voting maps for state legislature, Congress, school districts for next decade

The maps will go into effect Jan. 18, 2022, after the state legislature passed them during a 30-day special session.

The committee will provide input on Capital Metro's expanded public safety department to the transit agency's board of directors.  (Courtesy Capital Metro)
Capital Metro board approves charter for public safety advisory committee

The approval comes after the establishment of a transit police force met resistance during the August meeting.