October 15, 2015 • Athletic Administration

Texas school dresses up facilities for students and athletes

Bellville Independent School DistrictWhen students returned to Bellville High School (Texas) this summer, they may have noticed a fresh look that’s part of the district’s ongoing effort to rebrand its athletic program. Athletic Director Grady Rowe said the signs are hard to miss.

From the main road leading to the student parking lot to the Bellville football stadium, this small Texas school is in the midst of a visual enhancement project Rowe hopes will add a little excitement to his teams. The effort is years in the making, and while improvements will continue to made over time, Rowe believes the changes are beginning to make a tangible difference.

“Not everyone knows what we’ve done yet (over the summer), but it’ll catch their eye pretty quick,” said Rowe, who is also the school’s football coach. “There’s always something we’ve tried over the last three or four years to improve our facilities in some aspect or another, so when the kids come in they’re always looking to see what might be new out there.”

Rowe said he came across some of the projects done by BigSigns.com and decided that was the look he was going for. He discussed the project with coaches, but overall everyone knew what needed to be done and where improvements could be made.

First, windscreens were installed inside the football stadium at the top and bottom of the home and visitor bleachers. More windscreens were put along a high-traffic area between the stadium and tennis courts, and outside the gymnasium pole banners add another visual element for the athletic program.

Another windscreen was added along an old wooden privacy fence outside the school, and banners were hung inside the athletic hallway.

Bellville High School doesn’t have the extravagant athletic facilities that Texas schools are known for, but for the 600 students that attend the school it was important to Rowe that they have a sense of pride in their teams.

The stadium has taken on the name “The Pasture of Pain,” and images of a brahma bull are used throughout the school to maintain consistency with the brand. Rowe said that was one of the driving forces behind the project.

“I’m one that wants that pride in our facilities and to dress things up as much as possible,” he said. “Big Signs did a great job in branding, and that was the idea to just dress them up and brand them so when people see that, they relate it to Bellville.”

Rowe isn’t alone is his thinking. For years, different teams within the same school used a variety of images and logos unique to their program, and that’s something more athletic directors are trying to eliminate. That created confusion outside of schools, and athletic programs want their name and mascot to be instantly recognizable to those not only in their community but across the state.

Rowe said BigSigns.com made the process fairly simple. He was able to quickly approve designs and make changes, and matching the school’s exact colors was critical. He didn’t encounter any hiccups along the way and more projects may be on the horizon. It’s just a matter of prioritizing what will have the biggest impact on his program.

Aesthetic improvements may not sound like much for some programs, but Rowe believes in the value visual enhancement has for his teams.

“We talk about having pride in our facilities, and I think the little things we did only enhances what we are preaching,” he said. “We’re telling them to have pride in our facilities, so we dressed things up and that’s exactly what it does.”

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