AISD has economic impact

AISD has economic impact with draws to new facilities
Posted on 11/16/2018
AISD has economic impact with draws to new facilities

Athens High School venues serve as huge draw

Football playoffs, basketball tourney visitors to total thousands


By Toni Garrard Clay

AISD Communications Coordinator


Athens ISD’s new facilities continue to attract out-of-towners — and their spending money — to the city. Four games have already been scheduled for the renovated Bruce Field during the first two weeks of football state playoffs. And an ambitious new basketball tournament will debut at the high school’s brand new 2,700-seat gymnasium later this month.

“The school district presents such nice facilities to our visitors,” said Athens Chamber of Commerce President Marisa Gunstanson. “When people come to these venues, they also shop here and eat here. Those dollars help Athens grow.”

Thursday, Nov. 15, Dangerfield and Anderson-Shiro squared off at Bruce Field. This Friday night, Grapeland and Hubbard kickoff at 7. Two more games (teams to be determined) are scheduled for 2 and 7 the Friday after Thanksgiving, and more are likely. Last year, which was the first season after extensive renovations to the stadium, six football playoff games were held. The two years prior to that, there were none.

Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Paul Essary estimates an attendance average of about 2,500 visitors for smaller schools’ games, up to 6,000 for the larger ones. ‏Each playoff game also brings the district $3,100 to $3,500 depending on the size of the schools. Whatever is left after AISD staff is paid goes into the district’s general fund to benefit students.

Athens High School Head Boys Basketball Coach Cliff Thompson is hard at work putting the finishing touches on the first annual Athens Invitational Basketball Tournament for varsity boys’ and girls’ teams. From Nov. 29-Dec. 1, a total of 63 games will be played between 16 boys’ teams and 12 girls’ teams.

“We want to grow this into the premier tournament in East Texas,” said Thompson. “The goal is to showcase our facilities and our community to our visitors.”

Thompson notes a tournament of this size — which will utilize three different gyms on the AHS campus — would not have been possible prior to the new competition gymnasium.

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