Scandal in the Suburbs
Allen ISD shutters $60 million stadium for entire football season
The state champion Allen Eagles will have an added challenge this season: no home games. Citing "significant structural problems," the district announced in a May 20 statement that Eagle Stadium will be closed for the entire 2014 football season.
Allen will play its designated home games in Plano. No season tickets will be sold this year, and current Eagles season ticket holders will be credited for the 2015 season. Built in 2012, the $60 million stadium has been closed since February 27, when extensive cracks in the concourse were first discovered.
Allen ISD consultants Nelson Forensics determined that engineering failures were "likely responsible" for the majority of the problems.
The 18,000-seat stadium was designed by PBK Architects and built by Pogue Construction. To help fund repairs, Allen ISD said the two companies offered to contribute $2 million to an escrow account. But according to superintendent Lance Hindt, a "legal snarl" upended those plans.
"We were hopeful that the offer of $1 million each by Pogue and PBK would have allowed us to begin a proper repair without the added cost and delay of a lawsuit," Hindt said. "But we now have been informed by both companies that their insurance carriers refused to authorize the escrow payment."
Allen ISD said its consultants, Nelson Forensics, have determined that "engineering failures were likely responsible for the majority of the problems in the 19-month-old stadium." Nelson Forensics plans to complete its report on the structural issues at the stadium by June. Hindt said the total cost of repairs is expected to exceed $2 million.
Allen ISD board of trustees president Louise Master said taxpayers will not be burdened with any additional costs. Eagle Stadium was initially funded as part of a $119 million bond package in 2009. The package also included a nearly $40 million bus barn project, which has ignited its own controversy. Because Pogue and PBK are also involved in that large-scale project, Allen ISD officials have said they are conducting an independent review of bus barn construction plans.
"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," Master said.