Around the time when Chris Haney interviewed with Lake Dallas for its vacant head baseball coaching position, he was told by the team’s previous bench boss, Ryan Howard, who left Lake Dallas in late June 2019 for the same position at Coppell, there was already a significant project in progress to upgrade the school’s athletic facilities.
Among them were new turf fields, new protective netting behind home plate and the refurbishment of the batting cages for both the Lake Dallas baseball and softball teams.
“He had kind of mentioned it to me, talking about getting turf,” Haney said. “I didn’t know it was going to happen this quickly. They had just redone the football field, and it had looked beautiful.”
Fast-forward to the start of the 2020 baseball season, and all of the stadium renovations turned out to be better than what he had pictured.
“I’ve said it a couple of times: I think that we’ve probably got the nicest field in North Texas, to be honest,” Haney said. “There are a lot of nice parks around us, but when you add in our backdrop, the actual setup of our stadium, the elevated seats that overlook the field, it’s a unique park in its setup with the elevated bleachers that they call ‘Falcon’s Nest.’ It kind of fits into setup of Lake Dallas and the mascot theme, and makes it look really cool because it’s different.”
The upgrades are part of the current $105 million Lake Dallas ISD bond package that was approved by voters in May 2019.
Although both the Lake Dallas baseball and softball teams were only able to get to play on their new playing surfaces for one month because of the current global coronavirus pandemic, the upgrades received high marks from coaches.
“I love our new facility,” said Amber Tramp, Lake Dallas head softball coach. “Our old field will be missed, especially the infield dirt that we worked tireless on for years, but I am so excited for the extra time I will get to spend with the girls rather than working on the field. I know my booster club parents are excited as well as they have contributed many hours to help upkeep our facility in the past.”
Inclement weather forced construction to be delayed at times at the end of last fall, but coaches from other sports kindly offered to alter their respective team’s workout schedule to allow the ball clubs to use their facilities and conduct their own workouts.
Haney said he was blown away of the functionality of the new turf field.
“You can shoot ground balls to your [junior varsity] guys in the outfield and they will be exactly the same ground balls that you get at shortstop,” he said. “Your function space is through the roof with this turf field.”
The next phase of the bond project includes the construction of a multipurpose field house, scheduled for completion by spring break of 2021, and a new athletic wing in the middle school.
The multipurpose indoor facility will have a 100-yard field with one end zone, drop-down netting that can be used for batting practice and areas for storage and administration offices.
“It’s going to be nice to have in the future, because it’s going to help out all sports, band, stuff like that,” said Michael Young, Lake Dallas head football coach. “The middle school athletes have been in the same field house that was built in 1960s.”