Imagine reading the final installment of your favorite novel. Do you savor what you’re reading? Do you rush through the chapters, desperately wanting to reach the potentially dramatic end?
Plainview Schools officials wait patiently as the process unfolds. But make no mistake: Plainview Athletic Director David Gilliam eagerly awaits the conclusion.
As The Ardmoreite reported Jan. 20, the school district’s bond was the final of four stanzas. This one, visually, has exciting potential. However, the $1 million allotted for the expansion of the track and installation of a turf football field is, at maximum, 10 percent of the bond, Gilliam said.
“You start working on a bond a long time before you actually put it up for a vote,” Gilliam said. “Throughout the years, they’ve done a little more. They’ve rebuilt the visitors’ stands, then the home stands and the concession area. That’s the next step. It was done on separate bonds in order to make the whole complex nice — instead of trying to do it all at once.
“This was the final step.”
When construction personnel finish the renovation, Plainview could host regional and state track meets.
David Jackson oversees track and field at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.
He said the organization prefers eight-lane tracks. Seven is the minimum number of lanes the OSSAA would consider.
Jackson also referenced parking and seating.
“Of course, adequate parking” is required, Jackson said. “I couldn’t give you a number to tell you what adequate means, but it’s probably something we would come look at to see if we thought the parking would be enough.”
Gilliam said the school owns some land adjacent to campus that they could use for parking.
He’s optimistic there’s sufficient seating, which is another minimum criterion that Jackson mentioned.
“For a state meet, you’re probably looking at a seating capacity of (about) 2,500 to 3,000,” he said. “If they were interested in hosting a regional or state track meet, we would certainly entertain that thought, come and visit with them to see if some of those minimum (criteria) exist.”
“I’ll be honest, I’d like to host a state track meet once we get it finished,” Gilliam said.   
Catoosa High School hosted the 2016 OSSAA Class 3A/4A State Track Meet, which ended on May 7 . A Cattoosa official said that there’s a four-to-six week window when sales tax receipts (typically) become available.
The same official also said that the city didn’t conduct any economic studies to determine the potential of hosting the two-day event.
If Plainview earns the privilege to host, it could benefit Ardmore economically, with opposing teams needing lodging, food and gas.
The Indians’ track teams would benefit, too.
“We’re not traveling,” Gilliam said. “Yes, you’ll make a little money, gate-wise or concession-wise. Building this complex wasn’t just to get the state track meet. I think it could help us out and help Ardmore out a little.”
Plainview could also host neutral-site football games, in a manner similar to Cache, which hosted Fox’s 2014 semifinal game against Tipton.
“Maybe we could open it up to those kind of games,” Gilliam said. “You’re not really going to wear out a turf field. It’s not going to be a mud bowl, ever.”
Last year, before its semifinal football game at Moore Schools Stadium, which has a turf field, Lone Grove practiced for a day at East Central University. If the Longhorns — or another school — reach that point in 2016, Gilliam addressed that contingency.
“Definitely, we would look at it if we’re not using it,” Gilliam said.
Moreover, a turf field would prove beneficial if the Indians added soccer as a varsity sport. Due to the state’s budget issues, the school’s addition of the sport is not imminent.
“I believe soccer’s growing,” Gilliam said. “I know we have kids here that play at the elementary level and don’t really have anywhere to go past club teams.
“I think it’s definitely something that’s going to be looked at. You can’t ignore the growth. Down the road, it’s definitely something that we’ll have to pay attention to.”
In the interim, the construction is underway. The economic benefits due to these renovations are uncertain for the town and, perhaps, outlying communities.
The athletic renovations comprise a small part of the bond.
“It’s part of just upgrading our school,” Gilliam said. “This same bond is going to build a new building across the street for the elementary, it’s going to put security offices at the high school, renovate the cafeteria, put a safe room at the high school, air conditioning, technology busses — it’s all on this bond.”
“It’s part of the process of staying ahead. Keeping your facilities nice. Our track’s … been resurfaced several times. You can’t host a conference, regional or state track meet with a six-lane track. It’s been talked about, adding to it, for years.
“They started from the outside and worked their way in.”