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New Event Center last step in great rejuvenation of WO-S High School

By Van Wade

WEST ORANGE – It’s been quite a whirlwind of positivity and time to relish beautiful facilities at West Orange-Stark High School these days.

Hopefully by the middle of the 2021-2022 school year the final amazing piece that will sparkle the grand campus will be the new Recreational Event Center, which is in the process of going up now.

The Mustang football team took advantage of a tremendous new turf field during the 2019-2020 football campaigns.

The Mustang baseball and Lady Mustang softball teams got to play a little bit last season on their amazing new turf fields before the COVID-19 pandemics erased more than half the season last year. However, both teams are looking forward to tremendous and fun seasons on the home turf this season.

Then there is the sharp-looking Cornel Thompson Strength and Conditioning Center, which has turf inside to get some practice and reps in on any day, no matter what the weather is, and is also a top-notch weightroom facility.

The Event Center is definitely going to be something special and something that every Mustangs, past and present, can be proud of.

“It’s going to be something to behold for sure,” said long-time WO-S Athletic Director and head football coach Cornel Thompson. “We needed an upgrade to all of our facilities and now they are all simply amazing. I’m just so happy for the kids and the community, everything is so fresh and it is all state-of-the-art quality.”

A great deal of progress is being made on the Event Center as the weather has been good for the most part as things have been moving fairly swiftly.

“We’ve been blessed with the weather thus far because you know how that can go around here,” said Thompson. “We keep hearing the rumor of possibly November for a finish date but I really can see it happening when we go back to school in January of 2022. It’s going to be such a tremendous addition to our campus.”

The seating to the new Event Center will be built up somewhat and fans will not be right there at courtside as it will look more like a smaller version of a college arena. It is going to comfortably seat around 2,100 people, which will be great for big basketball and volleyball contests.

“It’s going to be a great sport environment for the players and the fans,” said Thompson. “It’s going to have state-of-the-art dressing rooms, a tremendous concession area and the court design is going to be something special.”

The Event Center is not only just going to be used as a sporting facility.

“It’s definitely going to be a multi-purpose facility for everyone to enjoy,” said Thompson. “It will be a great place for our baccalaureate ceremony, choir concerts, community gatherings and a great place for speakers to come and lecture and that’s just a few things.”

Attached to the Event Center will be elevators that will take folks up to the new press box to the football stadium, which Coach Thompson is elated to wait for.

“It’s going to give us tremendous assets for coaches, media and folks to get to the press box, these old steps at Mustang Stadium are getting harder and harder to navigate as we all get older,” laughed Thompson.

The new pressbox is going to be a two-decker with a whole lot more room than the existing one for sure.

“It’s going to be a lot more roomier and wider with more elbow room,” said Thompson. “There will be bigger spaces for coaches and there will also be a large media room. We also will have spacious areas for visitors and a hospitality room. It’s going to be similar to the pressbox at Texan Drive Stadium in New Caney, just on a little bit smaller scale.”

Thompson is just so proud of what has been accomplished at a school he’s spent a majority of his life at.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” said Thompson. “For years, we’ve been saying, ‘Why not us’, and here we are. The kids love it and respect everything that has been done and is being done. You should see them running around here all the time, talking about how nice things are and they really take a lot of pride in keeping all of the areas clean. It’s just proud, proud times here at West Orange-Stark these days.”