World’s priciest high school football stadium to remain closed for a year thanks to botched design, construction

The most expensive high school football stadium ever that developed giant cracks after two years isn’t necessarily being partly torn down yet, but it is being shuttered for all of next season while officials decide what to do with it. Eagle Stadium in Allen, Texas, which cost $60 million to build, developed cracks in its concrete thanks to both design flaws and construction errors, according to a Dallas Morning News article that can only be appropriately summarized via horrified ellipses:

Partial findings by Nelson Forensics indicate that some support structures were not designed in a way that would hold the weight anticipated on that level of the stadium. … “The stadium is not safe for public assembly,” Superintendent Lance Hindt said. … Hindt said he is confident taxpayers won’t shoulder the costs of repairs at the stadium. Both PBK and Pogue Construction, which built the stadium, are working with Allen ISD to find a solution, he said. … Pogue’s analysis also found failures to completely fill the concourse pan deck during concrete pours, which created a “honeycomb effect” … The firm identified areas in the stadium where the load demand on the structure exceeded accepted building standards by 10 to 20 percent. In isolated locations, that number was greater than 70 percent.

Once the forensics report is complete, Allen officials will decide how to go about fixing the problems, and how to pay for this. The construction companies have insurance that Pogue has claimed will cover the cost of repairs, though I didn’t know you could buy stupidity insurance.


15 comments on “World’s priciest high school football stadium to remain closed for a year thanks to botched design, construction

  1. Along with the stadium sinkhole at the Austin Peah University in Clarkesville Tennessee, maybe a divine being is taking sides on sports spending in our education systems.

  2. The Allen story is still a template for other larger school districts. Yes, the pricetag is an eye-opener but it is only “outrageous” if you are only thinking high schools.

    Alabama State for example is spending $62 million for a slightly larger stadium, and they’re I-AA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_ASU_Stadium

    What I liked besides the appearance is that they did have large facilities for training of various sports and a large locker room for the band. My main issue with the stadium is still the same as other football stadiums. Despite claims otherwise they rarely share the facility with other sports and events. (“It’s OUR stadium! It’s for holy by-God football by-God!”

    The main lesson is do not trust this firm. Level the damn place if you have to but the voters did vote for this and frankly would vote for it again. The school is top-notch, that’s what the voters want, so what do you do?

  3. This is absurd. Besides the obvious “that could have bought a lot of books!” comment, $60mm for a high school football stadium?! This is a random comparison, but OKC Thunder arena (which also seats 18,000 people) was built in 2002 for about $90 million, or $120mm in today’s dollars. So for $60mm you host maybe 6-8 high school football games a year — and for twice that you host roughly 250 events a year, 50 of which are watching Kevin Durant and friends. I haven’t a clue what the financing, etc. for this Eagle Stadium is, but I would find it hard to believe they would ever come close to recouping their investment, even before the concrete guy screwed up.

  4. There’s a joke to be made about football stadiums falling apart because all our engineers and architects grew up in places that spent their tax dollars on sports venues instead of education.

  5. @Jeff G

    It’s more comparable to Toyota Stadium given that they suit the same sports and are in the same area. Comparing it to basketball arenas is apples-to-oranges

    Allen’s stadium: $60 mil
    FC Dallas sradium: $80 mil

    They debate of why the stadium should or should have been built ended a long time ago. And though I would never wish anything bad like this would happen, it is kind of funny that they have that spectacular stadium and won’t even be able to play there.

  6. @Ryan, I definitely wasn’t trying to make a direct comparison, but, it’s still $60mm they’re spending! Obviously, football stadiums in general won’t be able to host as many events as enclosed arenas, but I think that’s part of my point. If it was a $60mm high school basketball arena, at least they could schedule a few dozen events per year to raise additional $$, but for the most part football stadiums host football games and that’s it.

  7. The money needed to sponsor football at the school level is why the sport will never spread beyond our border.

  8. Everybody is promising to play nice, but I would not be surprised if this devolved into an everybody sues everybody lawsuit. Like The Harmon hotel in Las Vegas.

  9. Kei, I had the same thought about education for architects and engineers versus sports spending. I have also worked as a structural engineer (on aircraft). I have raised two children in the public/private education systems. Schools and colleges invest much more in athletes than they do in students, including architects, engineers and gifted students.

  10. In TX, these schools with great facilities also host drill team and band competitions.

  11. Good luck with the insurance claim… the construction and engineering firms were offering platitudes about coverage BEFORE the cause of the failures was determined. As you noted, corporate insurance tends not to cover absolute incompetence and insufficient inspection and supervision by companies who should know better (and clearly market themselves as being competent and capable).

    If the facility can be repaired cost effectively, the company may choose to do that. If not, what’s that old saying about blood and stones?

  12. Laws pretty much make it impossible for an individual to win in court against a corporation, but it might be different for cities.

  13. @Jeff G

    It just goes to show what that school/city/state value. Texas has pretty shabby public schools so most young people there don’t aspire to excel academically to begin with, so its not for us to say wasting their funds on a stadium was bad, its really all they have.

    And Allen’s not booking many events at either, especially with the Allen Event Center a mile north of their school, its basically a mini American Airlines Center, so any event outside of local functions already have a plethora of options to choose from since DFW is so big. My point is, that stadium was build for one reason: football. All their other sports just conveniently play there. I think they also still have the largest band in the world, so that accounts for most of their ticket revenue. There’s probably 3 or 4 band members for every football player, but that’s a guestimate.

  14. My brother lives in Allen. An interesting fact about that stadium: having a son on the football team does not guarantee that both parents will have tickets to attend every home game.

  15. The idea of the “world’s priciest football stadium”, at any level of competition, just gives me warm fuzzies all over.

    Or should I say, “world’s priciest tax-funded football stadium”? Yeah, that’s the ticket!

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