Tag Archives: Allen ISD

Love for football requires some understanding

AW5P9645RTS11inch_original_crop_north

We learned something quintessentially Texan when we moved to Texas back in the spring of 1984.

It is that high school football matters — a lot! — to communities all across our vast state. Whether it’s along the Gulf Coast or throughout the Piney Woods of East Texas, or in West Texas, communities rally around their high school football team. Non-football activity virtually stops on Friday nights in the fall in places like Orange, Silsbee, Lufkin, Canadian or Pampa. It all takes place under the lights in high school stadiums all over the state.

We’ve come to understand the importance of football in Texas.

It’s with that backdrop that I found the story this morning about the new football stadium to be built in McKinney, a suburban community just a bit north of Dallas.

They’re going to spend $69.9 million for a 12,000-seat stadium. Construction starts next month and it will be open for business next year. McKinney residents got a bit of a jolt when school officials reported that increasing concrete costs drove the price of the stadium past its original price of $62.8 million.

The fascinating element, of course, is that the money was approved by voters, who approved a bond issue to build a facility that a lot of Division II colleges would love to have.

I’ve got a bit of a personal interest in this issue as well. They built an 18,000-seater in Allen, just south of McKinney a few years back. My grandson graduated from Allen High School this past year. The place is gorgeous and it, too, came via a successful bond issue election. Of course the Allen High project had its ups and downs. One of the “ups” is that the Allen Eagles have been perennial state champions in Class 6A and they fill the place when the Eagles are at home. The “down” was a big one: The stadium was closed for two seasons when they found stress fractures in the concrete that needed immediate repair.

Now is this something I could support with my vote if I was given a chance? I do not know.

The four public high schools in the Amarillo Independent School District share playing time at Dick Bivins Stadium. It’s a nice venue, too. Indeed, it beats the dickens out of the crummy little “stadium” where my high school played football back in Portland, Ore., in the old days.

I guess you just learn to accept the realities of where you live.

Football is a big deal in Texas. My sons didn’t play football when they were growing up and coming of age in Beaumont. Therefore, I generally didn’t have much vested interest in how their high school team played on Friday nights.

These days I no longer question the decisions that residents of certain Texas communities make regarding whether to build these seriously well-appointed sports venues.

If that’s what they want for their community, it’s their money to spend however they see fit.

There was a time when I’d suffer big-time sticker shock. I’ve gotten over it.

I mean, this is Texas, man!

http://beta.dallasnews.com/news/mckinney/2016/08/19/mckinney-isd-stadium-price-hike-shocks-officials-trustees

 

Stadium returns to full use

alleneagles_1-web

They play football at this place. It’s a stadium. A high school stadium.

It’s in the middle of Allen, Texas — just north of Dallas — where our grandson is about to graduate from high school.

Students and loved ones will gather there and they’ll cheer when their graduate’s name is called out and the young man or woman walks across the stage.

Why is this such a big deal?

Look at the place. It’s magnificent. It also cost $60 million to build. A high school football stadium cost that much money. My own high school football team played football a zillion years ago in front of a few hundred fans gathered in some bleachers. This place seats nearly 20,000 fans who cheer the state’s reigning Class 6A football champions.

Oh, and then they had to shut the place down. Why? Stress fractures appeared throughout the structure. The Allen Independent School District took on the contractor responsible for the mess. Then the school district had to persuade the contractor to foot the entire bill for fixing the structure, to make is useable for athletic events and, oh yes, commencement ceremonies.

I don’t begrudge the construction of the stadium. Allen ISD voters approved a bond issue that paid for it by a healthy majority. That’s their call. Would I have voted for it? Maybe I would. Then again, at my age (65) it would have affected my property taxes, as the state froze my school-related property taxes.

But hey, the stadium has been fixed. It’ll hold up. The crowd will roar.

And our grandson, Dylan? He’ll take his diploma and march off to begin the rest of what we’re quite confident will be a productive and fruitful life. We’re so very proud of him.

We also are glad this stadium got fixed.

Make sure it’s fixed for good.