Everything’s Bigger In Texas, Especially This $60 Million High School Football Stadium

  • Share
  • Read Later
Michael Prengler / AP

A view of the press box and home side seating of the nearly completed Allen Eagle Stadium. The $59.6 million dollar, 18,000 seat project was funded from a $119 million bond package approved by voters in 2009.

Anyone who’s seen Friday Night Lights knows high school football in Texas is no joke. It’s particularly not a laughing matter in the Dallas suburb of Allen, which just spent $60 million on a lavish new stadium for its high school football team.

When residents decided the previous 14-000-seat stadium wasn’t large enough, they approved plans for the new facility in 2009, NBC DFW reports. The Allen Eagles’ new home contains 18,000 seats, a 75-by-45 foot HD video scoreboard, a weight room and sunken-bowl design. The press room and private boxes rival those of college stadiums. It’s quite an upgrade from the old facility — one that didn’t even have built-in bathrooms.

But don’t go calling Guinness just yet: Eagle Stadium is only the third-largest high school arena in the state, though it is the largest one used exclusively by a single team. The Allen Eagles consistently rank among Texas’ top 10 football teams, having clinched the state championship in 2008 and notching up a cumulative record of 88-15 over the past eight seasons, according to MaxPreps.

(MORE: Catastrophic Brain Injuries at All-Time High in High School Football)

“We just have to [be] blessed and humble and not take it for granted,” incoming senior and defensive back Michael Jacob told NBC. He said the team doesn’t feel additional pressure to perform well, but they’re excited to take the field on their new turf. Christian Herr, an architect who worked on the project, said he predicts other districts will get competitive once their teams play in Allen and want to build giant, lavish stadiums as well. The school’s athletic director, Steve Williams expects around 8,000 season ticket holders. But the new facility isn’t all about football, Williams told NBC. It’s also home to areas for wrestling and indoor golf.

Inevitably, though, a majority of the attention will focus on the lush, expansive field when the Allen Eagles step onto it for the first time on August 31.

LIST: Top 10 Worst Stadiums in the US

153 comments
Thane Startzell
Thane Startzell

This money could have funded state of the art math and science labs, language training, and vocational classes.  I'm ashamed that my home state was willing to send t his message.

Count Zeppelin
Count Zeppelin

This isn’t the only Texas High School stadium like this one. Just goes to show the misplaced priorities in this backwards state, nothing but hicks with some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the United States. In 2009, Texas was 42 in the bottom 10 states for High School dropouts.

EJ
EJ

They'd do a lot better investing in decent textbooks instead of the drivel they have recently approved...

paulmario
paulmario

 Texans need to get over football and take care of real education. It's only a GAME!!

Tomasz Pelczar
Tomasz Pelczar

The ultimate stadium in the legendary for me, related to the best sherif's and bandits, plus the fabulous horse riding and the beginning of the journalism, state of the United States of America ... 

bpai99
bpai99

Those in TX without healthcare insurance are still under 30% of the total state population, so no need to spend any money on that when a football stadium is involved.

amazed108
amazed108

Talk about the tail wagging the dog!  Do these kids actually have to attend classes or is that the extracurricular activity in Texas?

John
John

All sports programs should be entirely self-sufficient. If you want a $60 million stadium, you need to raise that much. Or, you would need to have sports-generated revenue in that amount. Or, you obtain a private loan in that amount. Schools are supposed to be educational institutions. Sports is called extracurricular for a reason. It is outside the educational program.

Starshiprarity
Starshiprarity

My old highschool is about fifty miles from Allen. Their sixty year old highschool has a similarily aged heating and cooling system and few windows. The construction of a much needed new highschool in the district has been postponed because they cannot afford to pay teachers to work in it.

The area is a rapidly growing middle to lower income district. Allen is well known for its extreme wealth and snooty population.

Akil
Akil

People who do not live in Texas do not understand how important Texas Football is. Also, Texas educational funds prevent certian money to flow to certian places. And when a bond is passed to build things like schools and stadiums the money can only be used for those purposes. When the people of Allen ISD voted they knew what they were voting for, the stadium, and that was that. In addition in Texas there is this Robinhood program where rich school districts have to channel a lot of its money to poor school districts across the state and that drains a lot of money from school districts budget. Rich school districts have to do because its law. Those of you who are not from Texas like I mentioned before have no idea how much we love football here. Just so you people know, Allen ISD stadium is the third largest high school stadium in the state and $60 million dollars for a stadium, practice areas and classrooms is nothing here. Us here in Texas don't play in old, crappy stadiums. And so you know outsiders even in small rural stadiums its top notch quality. Football is a religion here and we will not worship in a old church.

mikey1013
mikey1013

And when the parents who voted to squander a disgusting amount of  money later come back and expect the state to pay for their brain damaged kids or complain about the lack of educational resources or teacher salaries, I suggest they have a stadium sale: one seat at a time. 

realitynow
realitynow

This is so wrong on so many levels. It's actually heartbreaking.

ReDQLulz
ReDQLulz

Fighting against the blatant wastefulness and stupidity of Texas high school football will get you run out of our little redneck Republican hellhole faster than mentioning Jane Fonda's name.

You would have more success trying to get Rick Perry to paint a rock.

usorthem3
usorthem3

Wonder if they will be serving sushi in the snack bar like the Southlake Tx 16 million dollar stadium does? We slash education in this state but don't put your hands on anything football, fascinating priorities. 

yourdad5678
yourdad5678

Jeez, who cares about books when you have this?

Shows where the priorities are in THAT town.

Not on education, thats for sure.

Jim Copley
Jim Copley

I'm a huge sports fan but...Texas ranks 31st in the nation in education which is rated below average according to SERI 

"

The Science and Engineering Readiness Index (SERI) measures how high school students are performing in physics and calculus -- based on publicly available data, including Advanced Placement scores, National Assessment of Educational Progress reports, teacher certification requirements by state and physics class enrollment data."

This is exactly what is wrong with our country. Convince everyone that their kid has a chance to be a Pro athlete, no responsibilities, no study hard work ethic, no reality. They spent 60 million to add 4000 seats and some bathrooms...oh yea...and a monster scoreboard....Well I have just told you the scores for free. Our country is losing and Texas wouldn't even be on the starting squad..

ArgenBarnfine
ArgenBarnfine

Everything is bigger in Texas. Well, except for brains. 

Afghamistam
Afghamistam

You'd think they could afford their own logo.

Donna Barnes Engh
Donna Barnes Engh

so sad that money so could have helped the kids get a better education.

NewEnglandRules
NewEnglandRules

absolutely disgusting.

kids less fortunate who can't afford college could have received Scholarships

NOPE! 

TEXAS should be embarrassed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Benton Love
Benton Love

$50-60 per ticket is not that expensive when you compare to other big deal football offerings. People will pay $500 per ticket to sit in a bar attached to the Cowboys' stadium

robert feller
robert feller

just stupid...this shows you everything that is wrong with texas and the USA. in light of Penn States decision to put sports ahead of students you have to wonder what they obnoxiously rich a-holes were thinking...I love football and great up in the Canton Ohio area with one of the richest football histories in America with a few good size stadiums...but nothing that compares. It's just a game and one that will be giving diminished returns in the future. Who wants their kid getting a long term brain issue...and look your boy isn't playing pro. If you are from the ghetto, maybe it's a way out...but not in this yuppie community. Send you stupid kid to harvard the old fashion way...buy them a pass. 

Rodrigo Roy Becerra
Rodrigo Roy Becerra

I have lived in Allen, TX for 20 years.  I voted against the bond issuance for the stadium.  But the majority rules and now that it is built I see the benefits.  The stadium will be host to many highschool and college playoff games, the high school graduation (saves money), and all this will bring in local revenue sales that will go towards the school and city expenditures.  I passed by there and saw how awesome it is.  I was humbled to think back in 1992 when we started Project Kids and talked about the future of our school program.  Back then Allen was so poor we were hurting for bare essentials such as buses.  Now a Giant is awaken! Go Eagles!

Chey808
Chey808

Wow, I live in Hawaii and my high school football field was compact red dirt...our track surrounding it was powdered red dirt.  Every time there was a tackle you couldn't see the players because it was a dust cloud. The school didn't even have enough money for desks for all the students in the classrooms so some of us sat on the floor.  No air conditioning, no fans (unless teachers bought them), and never even had soap or paper in the bathrooms.  I understand the community voted for this stadium but there has got to be some some regulation, $60 million is outrageous. 

Benton Love
Benton Love

I know this sounds crazy, but this project kind of makes sense. They're funding this through a tax-exempt muni bond offering that probably pays a 4% or less coupon.

If they charged $50-60 per game for ticket + parking + concessions (very easy for the best HS FB team in the state), sell out every game (which they already do through season tickets) and pay 90% of the $4.5 MM in revenues out for debt service, they could easily pay the stadium construction costs off (plus interest) in ~20 years.

On a levered basis, this would actually be a self-sustaining cash flow generating project: $500,000 per year until paid off then $4.5 MM per year thereafter.

Aaron Davis
Aaron Davis

This epitomizes everything that is wrong with our society.  Sports is held up as the pinnacle while the brain drain continues at an ever quickening pace.  Disgusting.  Anyone that voted YES for this bond package should be ashamed.

sanscrit
sanscrit

This is why democracy is awesome.  If the people of Allen want to VOTE to spend their property tax dollars on an abhorrent football stadium, then let them.  Allen ranks in the top 10% of high schools in Texas.  If they would have spent $60M on a school then people would just be complaining about the "rich getting richer" and how that money should have been redistributed to the poor, underperforming schools.  The people of Allen chose to build something with their own money.  Any complaints about that are just sour grapes.

aggieboy92
aggieboy92

I can only assume that poverty, hunger, unemployment, homelessness and healthcare have all been eradicated in order to justify $60M being spent on a high school stadium...right?  Please tell me I'm right.

Virgil L Mitchell
Virgil L Mitchell

Thats just stupid, do you understand how much they could have done here. You could send everyone in your h/s to college for life. You could build or expand a science dept, bring in new technology to further the children's knowledge. But no football stadium. Everyday i look in the news and ask myself can it get any dumber....apparently.

Jerry Blanchard
Jerry Blanchard

Texas is dumb...period.  first George W and now this.

nobrien22
nobrien22

This is why  I didn't like the movie "The blind side". Football and high school sports over education and realistic influences for the other 99% of the population that won't make a career out of the NFL... But the white majority/WASPS can't resist a good old fashioned "Look how pious we *really* are" movie. 

Jeremy Horne
Jeremy Horne

This is one reason why schooling in the U.S. has been declining - this overemphasis on sports.  Think what might have happened if this outrageous amount had been spent on a meaningful curriculum and  paying quality teachers a decent salary.

Johnathon Doe
Johnathon Doe

Building such a huge and expensive stadium for a high school football team is the same kind of logic that caused the Penn State leaders to put football before the lives of economically challenged children. I would love to be proud of a community that builds something like this for their school if they were rich with dollars and most academics are also provided similar funding but I don't think these schools can claim that. Good luck to ALL the students of this school. 

mr rational
mr rational

Last year, the Texas Legislature slashed education funding by $4 billion. The Allen school district made $4.45 million in budget cuts, including 44 teaching positions.

skeptica
skeptica

In Texas there is no income tax; but through sky high property taxes, all public school luxury comes to life. Tax and spend, it's the Texas way.

Kevo Ranciquíto
Kevo Ranciquíto

In one of the most conservative, "fiscally responsible" places in the country where liberal is a bad word, they vote to spend $60 million on football.  Talk about out-of-whack priorities.