2016—Plains High School – Cowboy/Cowgirl Arena

Plains ISD—Plains High School – Cowboy/Cowgirl Arena
Architect: Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, Inc.

Addition of new competition gym and accessory locker rooms, coaches offices, and storage areas. Adjacent gymnasiums, locker rooms, restrooms, and auditorium received accessibility and finish upgrades.


Sports are what keeps this particular community together. They have a long standing heritage of competing, with many people still involved on a regular basis at the school. The new arena facility not only provided a place for resonant pride, but it also gave an actual place for the community to gather for all kinds of events, including sporting events. The addition of a third gym on this campus also allowed the owner to host tournaments simultaneously that help to build and serve the community.


Back to back state titles and a heritage of athletic excellence was the catalyst for this new space. A place for community to gather and share in the tradition of the sport, in a place that enlightened the spirit of the game, became the focus of the mission to create a new “one of a kind” arena. Scale became an important design tactic to achieve the owners vision of having a “collegiate feel”. Specific design goals created new ways of designing area facilities.


3D modeling was used extensively throughout the project to convey and design solutions. The capabilities to see the final product as its designed allowed the owner to make “on-time” decisions throughout the project, knowing what the final result will be. Additionally the use of daylight and other simulation tools allowed the final design to take advantage of opportunities often not taken in similar types of facilities.


The arena was designed to have treated daylight with the use of curtianwall windows on its south façade. In combination with exterior louvers and canopies, and the interior roller shades, the facility is able to adjust light levels depending on configuration of the space as well as light needs. The use of daylight was two-fold. First, the daylighting was provided to offset electrical energy needed to power artificial lights. Second, it was provided to improve general well being of the occupants.


The design of the facility was kept simple to facilitate operations, maintenance, and aesthetic quality. Many spaces were designed to be used as much by the public as the school system them selves therefore creating social spaces like the large concourses and outside meeting spaces. Masonry and glass were used mostly to project a sense of quality, durability, and tradition within the design. Those materials also helped achieve specific sustainable goals.

School Transformation


Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner