Mesquite ISD building pavilions over practice fields to protect student players from heat

Mesquite ISD pavilions
Photo credit Mesquite ISD

With hot summer temperatures a way of life here in Texas, one North Texas school district is taking proactive steps to keep its athletes safe.

The Mesquite ISD is installing pavilions over practice fields at all five of its high schools.

The pavilions at Poteet and West Mesquite high schools are finished and are being used. Horn High School's pavilion will be completed within the next two weeks, while the ones at Mesquite and North Mesquite high schools will be finished by January.

Each pavilion has a full roof that covers the entire area of a regulation football field, with the sides open, allowing natural airflow to come through while significantly cooling the temperature underneath.

While these pavilions have football in mind, they're multi-purpose facilities.

"You had the band out there practicing," says Kody Groves, Mesquite ISD athletic director. "You had drill team and cheer under there, (and) we've seen students out there reading in the shade"

The pavilions also allow for greater scheduling flexibility that didn't previously exist.

"It does have lights on it as well," says Groves. "So it's allowed us sometimes to get underneath it when the sun's not up, and our fields have never had lights on them before."

Groves says the district invested between $4 million and $5 million dollars for each pavilions -- a fraction of what it would have cost to build an enclosed facility with air conditioning.

"To do a full length field indoor, they were somewhere in the 15 to 35 million range, depending on the size of these indoors and what all it encompassed," says Groves. "In our mind, we were going to build five of these for the price of one or two indoors that were not even going to be a full-length indoor."

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Mesquite ISD