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$60M H.S. Football Stadium Deemed Unsafe, Sidelined for Season

Allen Stadium.jpg

Less than two years ago, the citizens of Allen, Texas, were treated to the opening of a $60 million high school football stadium. Though some observers celebrated the new architectural feat, many felt the cost to be excessive and exorbitant.

As it turns out, the $59.6 million spent on the stadium may not have been enough. Earlier this year, Allen High School closed the facility indefinitely because of "extensive cracking...in the concrete of the stadium's concourse."

On Tuesday, Allen Independent School District Superintendent Lance Hindt announced that the stadium would not be reopening for the 2014 football season. Consultants hired by the district "identified design deficiencies in the elevated concourse at the stadium that fail to meet building codes and reduce the safety and strength of the concourse," Hindt said in a statement. Those consultants concluded that engineering failures were "likely responsible for the majority of the problems in the 19-month-old stadium," according to the district's release.

Not surprisingly, the district isn't thrilled about this latest development. They're keeping a record of the lost revenue and expenses related to the stadium issues, Hindt told The Dallas Morning News.

"I can't speculate whether this will be litigated in the future," he told the paper. "All I can tell you is we're going to get the stadium we paid for."

The two companies responsible for the construction of the stadium, Pogue Construction and PBK Architects Inc., had originally each put $1 million into an escrow account as a good-faith measure that would go toward repairs. However, a snag between the two companies' insurance policies resulted in both withdrawing their escrow offers.

"Our commitment to Allen students and taxpayers remains firm that the stadium be repaired properly at the expense of those responsible for the failure: the architect and the builder," Hindt said in a statement. "We wanted to avoid the legal wrangling of which party is responsible for what percentage of the repair and thought we had reached an agreement where each company would put money in escrow for us to use while their legal liability would be worked out later. I am frustrated that the insurers and their lawyers prevented this from happening."

Hindt and his colleagues have sworn that district taxpayers will not foot any additional costs for the repair of the stadium.

"While we are extremely disappointed that the stadium will remain closed this fall, we recognize that our priority must be to provide a safe venue for our students and the public," school board president Louise Master said in a statement. "In the short time that he has been superintendent, Dr. Hindt has demonstrated his skill at protecting the interests of Allen ISD taxpayers."

Sixty-three percent of voters in the school district, in a suburb of Dallas, approved a $119.4 million bond package back in May 2009 that included $59.6 million for the 18,000-seat stadium, according to The Dallas Morning News. It features a video scoreboard, a weight room, and a wrestling practice room, and it plays host to soccer, junior varsity, and varsity football games.

Photo courtesy of the Allen School District.

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