High Schools

Stevens: $60 million high school football stadium is a bargain

tstevens@newsobserver.com September 10, 2012 

For starters, the $60 million high school football stadium in Allen, Texas, didn’t cost $60 million. It only cost $59.6 million.

And it is worth every cent. It is a bargain.

The 18,000-seat Eagle Stadium has two scoreboards, a 38-foot wide high-definition video screen, free wifi and 42 lines for concessions.

The complex covers 72 acres and the field has artificial turf. The stadium also includes a weight room, a wrestling room, a multi-leveled press box and a practice area for boys and girls golf.

But don’t view the stadium strictly as an athletic complex. View it as part of its community’s strategy to create a sense of place, a desire to make their home special.

Allen, a suburb of Dallas, has had tremendous growth, zooming from 2,000 residents in 1970 to 18,000 by 1990 and to 84,000 in 2010, according to U.S. Census figures cited by Bob Cook in Forbes magazine.

The average median income in the community is $95,000 compared to the national average of $45,000. The community can afford to build, and it has.

A $52 million 7,500-seat indoor arena was opened in 2009 and the residents passed a $219 million bond for school construction six months before 63.67 percent of the voters approved the $119 million bond package that included the stadium, a $23.3 million performing arts center and $36.5 million for a transportation, maintenance and nutrition center.

Allen is doing what communities do. Allen is providing for its citizens. It is not just a high school football-crazed area. The high school needed a new facility. Allen’s old stadium had 7,000 seats that were supplemented by another 7,000 temporary bleacher seats, according to reports.

That’s 14,000 seats filled on a regular basis by a high school football team.

There are no plans to build such an athletic edifice in our area, but if you look closely in our communities you see unprecedented awareness of creating an identity, a sense of place, a spot in the sun.

We may not build monuments to high school athletics, but our communities renovate old auditoriums, create green spaces and make appropriations that enhance lives.

Certainly a less grand stadium could have been built in Allen, Texas, but what we build says something about us and what we aspire to become.

We don’t need a $59.6 million high school stadium in our area, but ask the supporters of Athens Drive High what improvements at its long-neglected Peter Hines Williams Stadium would mean to them.

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