1. "Will the exterior of the Tomato Bowl look the same?”
Yes! The front of the Tomato Bowl and the walls surrounding would remain the same. The front of the main entrance would have the electrical boxes and wires moved, a new roof put on, and the trim painted. The hill, steps, totem pole, and arched doors would still be exactly the same. The original ticket booths would be totally updated and put back into use. IF necessary, the far back wall (behind the visitors stands) would be repurposed and used inside the stadium.
Should the bond pass in May, the interior would be completely taken out and replaced with an up-to-date stadium blending the familiar outside historic look with the new facility inside.
2. Several questions about the amount proposed to renovate the Tomato Bowl:
- “ I was all for the upgrade but when I see 20 million (I am a property tax payer) I think wow - that 20 million would go so far for educational purposes.”
Different funds are designated for certain areas (by law). Some are for use only for facilities, upgrades, and maintenance, and others are for use only for the daily operations of the district. These funds are for facilities and not for daily operations which include books, instructional supplies, salaries, etc.
- “ 20 million - but can't get laptops for the classrooms for kids that would improve how they learn.....i was all for the upgrades but 20 million - i think we have lost what jisd in in the business for.”
JISD has over 3500 technology devices in the district and are available in all grade levels. Laptops and other technology devices are widely used by JISD students. The district will host a Technology Showcase on March 3, 2017 on all campuses and will be open to the public.
- “Why not just forget Tomato Bowl and build a brand new stadium instead of patching something old that will have to be fixed through the years?”
- “Add some bleachers to Cook Field and do what J'ville can afford.”
JISD researched options over the last 1 ½ years concerning an athletic stadium. Architects and contractors assisted in the research.
First considered was to fix only what was in “dire need” such as the visitor’s bleachers, restrooms, and dressing room. Each of those upgrades “triggers” additional legal requirements such as a certain number of restrooms required per new seat, ADA accessibility for the entire facility if any improvements are made, whether small or total renovation.
Next considered was upgrades to Howard Cook Field to make it the full time athletic stadium for JISD. These items would be required to make this facility meet the capacity of the Tomato Bowl and ADA requirements:
- 6000 home side seating; 2000 visitors seating
- ADA restrooms on both sides to match the legal requirement of the new seating (more than Tomato Bowl due to a city waiver)
- ADA parking accessibility and ADA seating
- The legal requirement for this number of seats is 1800 parking spots. The parking lot adjacent to Cook Field has 180. This requirement is waived at Tomato Bowl due to the historic district it is built in.
- ADA Press Box addition
- New Scoreboard
- New ADA Concession Areas
- New dressing areas for visiting teams and referees
- Ambulance entry
- Ticket booth
- Additional fencing
This option is estimated at 25 million
The third option considered is a new stadium on new property
- Purchase new property
- Construct new stadium with same capacity as Tomato Bowl
- Parking requirement is 1800
- Restroom capacity must meet legal requirements to match seating
This option is estimated at 35-40 million
The proposed complete renovation of the interior of the Tomato Bowl is estimated at 15-16 million. The inside facility would be brand new and require the same maintenance and upkeep as a new facility. The inside would be literally taken out and replaced with a new stadium inside the walls.
- “I just know it won’t take that much to build a stadium. They should have thought of that before the built the practice field and other things when they could have used that to fix the Tomato Bowl since it is more important.”
- “….all that money spent down on a practice field, and now they come to us with this?”
Mauldin Field was listed as the #1 priority on the 2014 Facilities Committee list. The facility was renovated with a large donation from the Mark & Judith Cook Foundation that specifically targeted that facility upgrade. JISD had fund balance available (1 million) to add to the Cook donation (1.25 million) to completely update the track to a competition track, turf field, new lighting, and new sound system. More seating is needed, but JISD chose not to pursue that due to the lack of available funds for a project that would legally require more restrooms and parking spots to match the increased number of seating. The additional requirements caused the cost to be much more than the district considered prudent. The other new facility at JHS, the Multi-Purpose Athletic Complex for girls was also built with left over bond funds and available fund balance.
3. “So there is no talk of the facility needs at the Middle School? I find it very difficult to believe the only facility improvement needed is a weight room.”
The 2014 Facility Committee comprised of mainly community volunteers formed to research and prioritize the facility needs remaining in Jacksonville ISD. This 35 member committee met for 3 months and thoroughly reviewed every facility in the district. At the present time, JMS is serving the needs of the students with enough room, new roof, and no mechanical deficiencies. The major concern of securing the campus has been completed with fencing. Upgrades that have been identified and are needed include new furniture throughout, new carpet, and regular maintenance. Those needs are already in process and scheduled to be completed in-house with 3-5 years.
4. Questions about the financial integrity of JISD:
- “JISD will only spend about 5 million to fix the stadium and pocket the other 15 million......
- “In my opinion, I think until some of these districts start getting better ratings with the state*, their funding needs to be put on hold. We have a “no pass – no play” rule for players, it can work here, too. **Fact is fact; too many taxpayers aren’t happy with how JISD $’s are spent.”
- “These are the last major needs that need to be done….at least until they come up with more***.….does it also make since that JISD should be, and should have been for many years, more responsible with the money they receive?”
- “This district and the board have been spending money for years now like they have their own government issue printing press….Tighten up JISD – put that checkbook up and go back to the budget and find some money.”
**We are very proud of the 100% Financial Transparency found in Jacksonville ISD. We encourage anyone with questions or specific issues about the budget or how funds are spent in the district to please contact the JISD Administration Office (903-586-6511) and we will be happy to meet with you. The public has access to all JISD records, and you are welcome to visit the Financial Transparency page located on the homepage of our website (jisd.org). The Texas Education Agency has awarded JISD the FIRST (Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas) Award for 14 consecutive years, which is the highest financial rating available.
*JISD as a district and each campus individually has received the “Met Standard” rating from TEA which is the highest rating awarded. JISD also exceeds the state average on 12 of the 15 tested indicators. JISD continues to be a leader in the area for innovative programs and high achievement, and is looked to as a leader in the education community.
***The 2014 Facilities Committee comprised of mainly community volunteers formed to research and prioritize the facility needs remaining in Jacksonville ISD. This 35 member committee met for 3 months and thoroughly reviewed every facility in the district. The Committee submitted a list of 4 remaining areas of concern that needed to be addressed as soon as possible.
- Girls dressing rooms - Completed with left over bond funds and existing fund balance
- Mauldin Field - Completed with a large alumni donation and existing fund balance
- Weight Room at JMS - to be completed in-house and in planning stages
- Tomato Bowl -
5. Is it true the Tomato Bowl is going to be condemned?
No, the Tomato Bowl is not currently scheduled to be condemned. According to outside sources such as school and stadium architects and construction experts, in its present state the 76 year old stadium is in deteriorating condition and has an approximate 5 year lifespan before areas could become unsafe and unusable. JISD wants to provide students with an athletic facility of which to be proud, therefore voters are asked to decide whether to renovate the existing stadium or pursue other options.