Tag Archives: Allen ISD

Expensive stadium needs an expensive repair

I found myself smiling while watching a news report regarding a brand new high school sports venue.

Maybe I should have been more, um, understanding.

McKinney High School is supposed to begin playing football in a $70 million stadium. The season starts this fall. The stadium — which is still under construction — is a beaut. It looks real pretty. It’s billed as a state-of-the-art venue for a growing high school in North Texas.

But … they have a problem. They found cracks in the concrete. McKinney school district officials have to repair the damage before they allow thousands of high school football fans sit and cheer their team on to victory.

If that sounds familiar, well, it should. Down the road a bit, in Allen, they encountered a similar difficulty with that school district’s shiny new football venue. The Allen Eagles had to vacate their new $60 million stadium for a couple of seasons while the contractor repaired the stress fractures officials discovered. The contractor fixed the problem at no additional cost to taxpayers. The stadium opened. The fans have cheered.

The Allen Eagles, by the way, won a state championship this past season.

Another thing: Now that my wife and I live nearby, we have a keener interest in these matters.

Will the contractor who built the McKinney stadium fix it on its own dime? They had better. I cannot imagine asking taxpayers — who already have agreed to shell out a lot of money — to dig even deeper to repair a flaw that is not their fault.

Love for football requires some understanding


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!



Stadium returns to full use


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.