JACKSONVILLE, Texas (KLTV) - In 2018, the Jacksonville Indians went the entire season without a single home game in the Tomato Bowl due to a major renovation project. In 2019, the Indians will begin their season in one of Dave Campbell’s top 12 stadiums you must see.
City leaders held a media tour of the newly-renovated Tomato Bowl on Wednesday, ahead of its grand opening ceremony which will be held in early June.
During the 2018 season, the Tomato Bowl received new LED lighting, grass turf, windows, and much more:
- New restrooms
- New home team dressing room
- New visitor dressing room
- New concession stands
- All new seating for home and visitors
- State of the art press box with a VIP suite
- ADA accessibility throughout the stadium
“We basically took down everything but the walls, and rebuilt everything new,” said Shane Johnson, project manager at Johnson Construction. “From the field to the press box.”
However, a bit of history was preserved. The historic red stone wall that surrounds the stadium was left untouched, and everything that was featured outside of the stadium will remain the same.
“There’s a lot of integrity in Jacksonville,” said Johnson. “Having to keep the original aspects -- the walls and everything -- throughout the process. We had some bad news, which was challenging, but we managed to get it done on time, and everything worked out."
During the 2018 season’s “home games”, the football team carried a box painted just like the red stone wall of the stadium. Inside the box sat a rock from the Tomato Bowl that players tapped before heading out of the locker room.
In the upcoming football season, however, players will be welcomed into a stadium that’s been an integral part of the community for almost 80 years.
“The kids are very excited to be back home in their new, incredibly renovated, beautiful stadium,” said Dick Stone, mayor of Jacksonville.
The city will hold a grand opening ceremony on Friday, June 7, featuring Jacksonville High School alumni Neal McCoy.
The Jacksonville Indians high school football team holds its first home in the Tomato Bowl on August 23 when the team faces the Bullard Panthers.