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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Eagle Stadium: The Palace of High School Football

Stadium Art

Sports Stadiums have been a common part of most civilized societies for many years. As far back as the Roman Empire, sports stadiums have been a place where national and state pride were presented with much fanfare and glory. Sports stadiums not only provide a designated place for sport competition, but they provide entertainment for the public and revenue for the home state and associated sports teams and organizations. While there are many positive aspects about having a sports stadium in a community, there have been many negative aspects as well. High costs, fraud, overbilling and related scandals have plagued many sports stadiums and the host cities. Stadiums bring in jobs, revenue, popularity, travel, and a wide range of other business opportunities. They also cost a fortune and put a burden on the taxpayers and the host city budget (Coakley, 2015).

One such magnificent display of architecture, that has had its share of controversy, is the Eagle stadium in Allen, TX. It claimed the title of the most expensive high school stadium ever built, with an estimated sixty million dollar price tag. It originally opened in 2012 but was forced to close in 2014, because of required repairs. Apparently, there were structural issues and cracks in the foundation. Naturally, this caused quite a stir in public sentiment, after its enormous cost. This stadium is very large, with eighteen thousand seats, and eight thousand seats sold as season tickets. Despite the setback with repairs, the local community appears to still be very supportive of the stadium and their team, the Eagles. This team has been state champions three times, so the estimation for good things to happen with this stadium is very positive (Solomon, 2015).

Eagle stadium may soon lose its title of most expensive high school sports stadium. In the nearby city of McKinney, TX, a new stadium is being built that will have twelve thousand seats and cost approximately sixty two million dollars. This stadium will only be about seven miles from the Eagle stadium. There appears to be a stadium, arms race, in Texas, where high school football is very popular. Many people do not approve of so much money being spent on high school sports stadiums. Some people think that there are much better uses for the money, in other areas, that need attention. The majority of people, however, appear to support these stadiums, as these stadium budgets do require a vote by city residents, to be approved (Boren, 2016).

The residents of Allen, TX voted in 2009, for the approval of a one hundred and nineteen million dollar bond, to build this stadium and provide for other educational based facility upgrades. The stadium is owned by the Allen Independent School District. This stadium was built by Pogue Construction and PBK Architects. It has a sizeable parking complex, which can handle over five thousand vehicles. The stadium covers over seventy two acres. In addition to the football related features, Eagle stadium has a weight room, a golf practice area and a wrestling training area (Cook, 2012).

While many of the cities in Texas, including Allen, were cutting school budgets, this enormous undertaking was still approved. The economic strategy behind the stadium was to draw more attention to Allen through tourists, businesses and potential new residents. The city of Allen has grown from about eight thousand residents in 1980 to over eighty four thousand as of 2010. Allen residents are reported to have an average, annual income, in excess of ninety five thousand dollars. This is about twice the number of the national average. Being only twelve miles away from Dallas, Allen is far away enough, to enjoy the benefits of the suburban life, while still being close enough to attract big business (Cook, 2012).

One of the big stories surrounding Eagle Stadium, was the closing, repair and reopening of the stadium, that took place from 2014-2015. The repairs cost over ten million dollars. The architects estimated that it would have cost less than an additional one million dollars, to have the added features and reinforcements, done during the repairs, to have been done during construction. Fortunately, for Allen, Texas, the contractors agreed to cover the cost of the repairs themselves, seeing that it was their fault. They even paid Allen, Texas, over six hundred thousand dollars, for revenue lost during repairs and they covered the separate engineering fees that ran well over a million dollars. Naturally, the city government and school board were very pleased with this outcome. Another unusual occurrence was that this costly repair fiasco was handled amicably, without the need for time consuming and costly litigation (Chiquillo, 2015).

During the repairs, the Eagles football team had to use other facilities to train and play at. This required a lot of travel and was thought to be a setback for the team. As it turns out, the team has done well and really wasn’t negatively impacted by the temporary closure of the stadium. Everyone seems to love the stadium, with its thirty eight foot wide big screen, two hundred rest rooms and numerous concession stands. With such a high cost and then the shutdown for repairs, many thought this would turn into an ugly nightmare for the school and city. As it panned out, this minor setback had little negative effect and the school, city and community, now enjoy the stadium that was coined “the Palace of High School Football” by ESPN, when it made national headlines (Kuo, 2012).

Despite the high costs, in an age of budget cuts across the nation, magnificent sports stadiums continue to be built across the country. As long as sports remain popular and in such high demand, the need for these modern coliseums will continue. In communities around Dallas, Texas, the race is on, to see who can create the biggest and best stadium. These stadiums are a source of great pride, growth and revenue for communities across the country and throughout the world. The influence and popularity of the sports culture remains strong in our society. These majestic stadiums will contribute greatly to the continued success of the sports industry (Coakley, 2015).

References:

Coakley, J. (2015). Sports in society: Issues and controversies (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Solomon, D. (2015). Allen’s Eagle Stadium is Set to Officially Reopen on Friday. The Daily Post. Retrieved from http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/eagle-stadium-in-allen-is-set-to-officially-reopen-on-friday/

Boren, C. (2016). Take a look at America’s most expensive high school football stadium. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/05/10/take-a-look-at-americas-most-expensive-high-school-football-stadium/

Cook, B. (2012). Why Allen, Texas, Built a $60 Million High School Football Stadium. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/bobcook/2012/08/13/why-allen-texas-built-a-60-million-high-school-football-stadium/#6c23d0c39d0b

Chiquillo, J. (2015). Allen's Eagle Stadium to reopen for graduation after $10 million-plus in fixes. The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved from http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/allen/headlines/20150531-graduates-to-reopen-allen-isds-eagle-stadium.ece

Kuo, S. (2012). After Repairs, Allen High School Returns To Eagle Stadium for Football Season. Kera News. Retrieved from http://keranews.org/post/after-repairs-allen-high-school-returns-eagle-stadium-football-season

Photo credit: http://www.allenisd.org/page/22234

Eric Dempsey
MS, ISSA Master Trainer
Dempseys Resolution Fitness


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