REL Memorial Sports Complex dedication on March 27

Goose Creek CISD is hosting a rousing patriotic tribute March 27 for the dedication of the newly renovated Memorial Sports Complex at Robert E. Lee High School.

The school district is inviting all Ganders, local veterans and community members to the 1 p.m. dedication ceremony that will take place at Pete Sultis Stadium during the afternoon break of the annual Rockhold Relays.

The Memorial Sports Complex at Robert E. Lee High School is home to Pete Sultis Stadium, Herrington Field, and the REL softball field.

Folks who attend the dedication ceremony will be given American flags to wave while the Famous Robert E. Lee Band plays the songs of the U.S. Armed Forces. Local members of the military will be recognized during the ceremony.

“As we celebrate the renovations at the Memorial Sports Complex, we want to honor and pay our respects to those who have served our country,” said Goose Creek CISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Toby York. “We invite our local veterans to join us for this dedication.”

The sports complex’s name is taken from Memorial Stadium (renamed Sultis Stadium in 2002), which was named in honor of 59 Robert E. Lee students who died in World War II.

The plaque reads: “To honor those valiant young men who gave themselves in service and sacrifice for God and country.”

The names of the 59 REL students were engraved on a brass plaque attached to the base of the flagpole on the football field. Eventually, the plaque was moved and mounted on a new frame for display in the student commons at the venerable high school.

Before the 16,500-seat Stallworth Stadium was opened in 1970, Baytown sports history was made at Memorial Stadium, where the Ganders played on Friday nights and the all-black Carver High School teams played on Saturday nights. Both schools produced championship teams and future All-Americans.

Come spring, sports fans were drawn to record-breaking track meets of REL and Carver.

Memorial Stadium was renamed Pete Sultis Stadium in 2002 for the school district’s long-serving athletic director. Sultis retired in 1985 after 38 years of service to Goose Creek as a teacher, coach and athletic director.

Herrington Field was named for baseball coach Gary Herrington. From 1966 until his retirement in 2001, Herrington’s Ganders won more than 500 varsity games. They made the playoffs 10 years in a row at one time, and, in 1999, reached the Region III-5A finals, coming within one win of the state tournament.

In July 2008, the Goose Creek CISD Board of Trustees approved the project for the Memorial Sports Complex.

The project was a $5 million renovation to the old facility that included replacing existing stadium seating with new grandstands and press box, upgrading the track to UIL standard eight-lane track, relocating track equipment to the south side of the field as well as creating two new broad jump pits as well as a high jump areas.

The project also included new concessions and restroom building on the north side of the field.

The entire track area as well as the entire athletic complex at the stadium was re-fenced.

A new ticket booth building and grand entry were constructed, as was a new storage building for athletic storage. A new field P/A and sound system also was installed.

The school district added a new parking lot accommodating Sultis Stadium, Herrington Field and the softball stadium.

The district also added two new arch gates and signs for Sultis and Herrington stadiums.

Sultis Stadium was resodded and the irrigation system renovated and updated.

Additionally the district constructed a new football practice field.

 “The Gander sports tradition is one of the proudest in Texas high school ranks, and what will happen on these newly renovated fields will create many more memories for the Baytown Lee faithful,” York said. 

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