New Year, New Look

Celina Football to Play It's First Game in New Stadium


James Carroll, Judith Matehuala, and Contributors: Ava Miller, Michelle Barrientez, Karla Presa, Adrian Aguilar, Sarah Coblentz

After 11 months of construction, Celina football kicks off their first home game in the new athletic complex against Frisco Memorial at 7:30 p.m. The complex boasts an indoor field, upgraded equipment, and a modern sports venue.

“It is an unbelievable facility,” head coach Bill Elliot said. “It can create a lot of pride for our community, which in turn allows our community to continue to grow and be a very positive place in everything we do.”

With the help of project manager Marc Rauzi, from Claycomb Associates, Elliot was able to design and include a video room, a weight room, the design of the locker room, and the indoor facility. 

“I was very fortunate over the last several years to go and travel to watch my older son play football in a lot of big college games, so I saw a lot of different stadiums, saw a lot of field-houses,” Elliot said. “Because of that, I was able to get a lot of ideas about how those places were built, and that’s kind of what I put into what we have here.”

Serving as a universal facility for all athletes and students in extracurricular activities, the athletic complex was proposed in the fall of 2008 by the school board as part of a bond for academic and athletic improvements to combat growth in the district.

“It brings our people all together, our kids all together,” Elliot said. “In the mornings, I’m in the weight room with the Varsity and JV [football teams] lifting weights, and I look over through the windows to the indoor and the soccer teams practicing here. I look outside, we’ve got the freshman and sophomore football teams. The cross country girls are running, basketball girls are running, to see all of those different athletes working at the same time in the same place is really cool to me.” 

The stadium has 6,500 seats and can expand to 10,000, compared to the 3,800 at the old field downtown.

“It was long overdue because I think our kids deserve the best stadium,” drill team sponsor Kelly Babb said. “[Bobcat Field] has so [many] memories and tradition[s] that I absolutely love, but I thought facility-wise it was time for our kids to have what they deserve.”

In addition to the extra space, the complex also provides improved sports medicine equipment.

“We’ve got a lot of new tools we were able to purchase with the building that would normally be out of our budget range,” assistant athletic director and head athletic trainer Kyle Sheridan said. “With some of the bond money, we were able to purchase a Thermax machine and an ultrasound machine, but also the way the training room is laid out, there’s specific areas for your things instead of one big open room.”

Sheridan and other staff members rushed to get everything ready for summer workouts earlier this summer. 

“Now we’re in that same crunch with getting the press box up and running,” Sheridan said. “Hectic is the best way to put it.”

Features in the press box include a suite for the school board and administration, the coach’s box, video area, announcer’s area, kitchen area, restrooms, and an area where AV students run the video board under the watch of CTV director Jay Slivocka.

“We’ll have three students on camera, [and] two will be up in the press box doing replays and getting videos from the computer to the scoreboard,” CTV director Jay Slivocka said. “It’d be a group of five with me there to let everyone know what they’re supposed to do.”

The complex resembles not only a new season, but a new chapter in Celina football.

“It’s going to be a new beginning,” Elliot said. “Even though we’re holding on to our old traditions, our old culture, it is a new beginning here.”

Though 11,000 people make up Celina’s population today, the facility and its features allow for a predicted growth of 100,000 to be accommodated for the next 10-15 years until future improvements are made. 

“I really hope that it’s something that brings our community together as we’re growing and so many new people are coming in our community. I hope that this can be something that’s [seen] as the jewel of Celina now.”