If the weather cooperates, the Early Longhorns will be playing on a new home football field in 2008, and, a substantial part of the Early High School renovation will be complete by the time school starts next August.

Plans are for bids to be opened at a Feb. 11, 2008, Early Independent School District board of trustees meeting, and, if contracts can be awarded then, construction on the new $3 million field complex will begin almost immediately, Board President Shawn Russell said. Paul Waldrop, with Waldrop Construction, said there could be some scheduling issues so as not to interrupt classes during the spring semester, but it would be also be possible to have most of the classrooms and science lab complete at the high school by the time classes start in late August 2008.

“The real unknown here is the weather,” Waldrop told trustees at the regular session school board meeting in December. “At best the timing is very tight, if it’s another rainy spring and summer, then it will be tough.”

Waldrop also explained that the public facility restrooms are never a “fast build” and the construction of those would take more time.

“Restrooms can’t be finished in a two-month summer,” Waldrop said.

The $2.8 million renovation of the high school, along with the construction of the new sports complex and an elementary school, and the renovation of the primary school are all part of a $17.5 million bond package. Voters approved the bond in 2005, but since state funding was not made immediately available, the board pared down the original plan so as not to raise taxes.

Also, with the money — $420,000 — raised by the BEST Club, the district will be building a “Big Room” indoor athletic facility. RBR Construction out of Weatherford got the bid for that. The facility alone is expected to cost $686,000, and added “soft” costs of turf and architect fees will push the total cost to $820,000, Russell said.

“With our private money and bond money, that’s about what we have,” she said. “Costs keep going up, and we’ve had to reduce the size to 150 x 120 feet, but we do have the money and we are going to have a ‘Big Room.’”