Austin, TX, 78738, USA

$44M Competition Arena – Gym or Luxury?

When tax dollars are needed to build a new expensive high school, should we be building this “gym”? Is it a “gym” or is it a luxury athletic facility aimed at showcasing our athletic abilities? What happens to the athletic improvements that we have approved in prior bond elections?  Shouldn’t we be focusing on improving our “B” core education rating and investing in more equitable items to help all of our students not just our athletically inclined? Who exactly benefits from a Competition Arena – are the revenues from state-wide competitions projected to offset our M&O tax dollars or where exactly does that revenue go?

What Does a $44M “Gym” Look Like?

Let’s Look at a Comparable Competition Arena

Pictured on the right is the competition arena located at the new Rock Hill High School in Prosper ISD. The LTISD Competition Arena is envisoned to seat 2,500.  This one has 2,400 seats and a state-of-the-art display system with a hanging scoreboard and screens at each corner. The arena also features a full complement of support spaces, lockers, concessions and a pre-event space in the lobby.  Is this a “gym” that should be bundled with the High School? Or does this type of ask deserve its own proposition?

A look at our Current Gym

Many basketball and volleyball events are hosted in our current gym, with parents citing that the gym is adequate. Shouldn’t the voters be provided a better choice in voting rather than having these funds included with the High School and Elementary School funds?

Basketball Events are Hosted Today

District-level competition events are hosted in the current gym. Notice in the photos that the spectator seats in the photos are not full, suggesting that there is room for more staff, students and parents. Does the occasional high-profile, rival event warrant agreeing to $44M in debt (excluding interest), particularly in light of a new High School needed to be built and athletic facilities projected for that campus too?  In this economy? Do taxpayers agree that it is a priority to host state-wide competitions? 


A member of the Board of Trustees said in the August 2022 Bond Proposal meeting that he found our current facility “embarrassing”.  The year built was cited.  Well, Gregory Gym on the University of Texas campus was built in 1930 and the university, nationally ranked volleyball team is still playing there. Perhaps UT Athletics knows how to pick “needs” vs. “wants” in order to avoid over-spending.

What do you think?

Multi-Purpose Gym

Here’s a view of the floor set up for another sport practice.  Is this embarrassing or is this serving our athletic department?

Long Range Planning or Continual Debt Generator?

The last Bond Election (2018) funded an upgrade to athletic training facilities.  Now touted on the vendor’s website, taxpayers should note that we still have 25 years of principle and interest on this investment in athletic infrastructure. Specific cost estimates for this renovation have not been found but will be posted here as more is found. Is this investment impacted by the new “gym” plans?

“I absolutely love it! So impressed with how it turned out!”  is the quote credited to Hank Carter, Head Coach

Upgraded Training Facilities

The Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee said this is what was priority.  And taxpayers said “OK”.  

Debt on This Investment Still Exists

Tax dollars are still being used to repay the principle and interest on this renovation.

Promises of Long-Term Outlook

The Board of Trustees and the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee promise that they are looking at the long term value. How is this investment protected by the new Competition Arena? Are dollars that were spent here thrown-away now that a new “gym” is envisioned?