TYLER -- It was November of 2000. We weren’t sure who our next president was going to be, no one knew what American Idol was and Tyler’s Rose Stadium still had grass.

Or mud to be more exact.

Following the infamous “Mud Bowl” between crosstown rivals Tyler Lee and John Tyler that yielded a 6-0 Lee victory on the final day of the regular season, TISD officials decided it was time for Rose Stadium to install an artificial playing surface.

The new surface made its debut during the 2001 season opener between John Tyler and Katy, a rematch from the 2000 5A Division II state championship game.

The stadium would go on to play host to 13 high school playoff games that year, bringing in thousands of dollars in revenue to both the school district and the city of Tyler.

Eleven years later, it was time for another upgrade.

When Texas College hits the field at Rose Stadium for its season opener against the University of Saint Francis on Saturday, it will be on a brand-new artificial surface installed over the summer.

Not only will be there be a new surface, but brighter stadium lights were also installed to make action more aesthetically pleasing to spectators.

“I didn’t know quick we could get it done,” said TISD athletic director Rod Kaspar, who is entering his second full year as the AD in Tyler. “(The turf) wasn’t that bad when I first got here, but it got that way with one more year of deteriorating. I knew it was something that we needed to do.”

The total cost of renovation was absorbed by unused funds from previous bonds, of which there was more $19 million available.

“I think it’s a plus for us because we’re going to try to get as many playoff games we can,” Kaspar said. “When they first put the turf in 11 years ago, we got 13 playoff games right off the bat. We lost out on a couple of playoff games last year because the coaches said it was so bad.”

One game in particular that may have been lost due to poor field conditions was the Henderson-Lindale clash in the second round of the playoffs. The year before, the game was played in Tyler, but 2011’s rematch was staged in Forney. Another potential postseason game lost was the second-round matchup between Van and Gilmer, which was played at Longview’s Lobo Stadium instead.

“It’ll definitely have a positive effect on the city with people coming in, eating and shopping and whatever else people do besides going to the game,” Kaspar added.

In addition to home games for John Tyler and Tyler Lee, Rose Stadium will also serve as the site for junior high and subvarsity high school games as well as games for Tyler Junior College and Texas College.

TISD also plans to host soccer matches at Rose Stadium.

The plan to install new turf was met with some resistance by some members of the community when the proposal called for the partial removal of the track, meaning all TISD track and field meets would have to be moved to the high schools.

The school board appeased the opposition by agreeing to upgrade the track facility at John Tyler High School.

“That’s pretty close to being finished,” Kaspar said of JT’s new track complex. “They’ve let the football team back on the practice field, but they’re still doing work on the concession stands and restrooms on both sides.”