No, we’re not talking about the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s the Allen (Texas) High School Eagles, which christens the 18,000-seat stadium against defending champion Southlake Carroll.
The stadium also features a multi-level press box, wrestling and weight rooms, a golf practice area and artificial turf.
It’s not the largest high school stadium in Texas, but it is the biggest that houses a single team.
Allen High supporters say the stadium is well worth the money, even in a down economy in which many school systems are struggling to find money to pay teachers.
“There will be kids that come through here that will be able to play on a field that only a few people will ever get the chance to play in,” said Wes Bishop, the father of a player and head of the booster club, told The Associated Press.
Collin County, where Allen High is located, is a suburb of Dallas and one of the most affluent areas of Texas.
Voters approved funding for the stadium in a 2009 bond referendum.
Officials concede they will never recoup the cost of building the stadium but say revenues — including six sponsorships that will bring in $35,000 a year — will cover the cost of operating it.
“Our intention is not to recoup the money it cost to build the stadium,” school district spokesman Tim Carroll told the AP. “It’s not practical to say we’ll get that money back. [But] the revenue we receive from the stadium will far exceed the cost of operating it.”
Carroll has pointed out that the funds for the stadium were part of a larger $219 million bond package and could not have been used for classroom purposes.
“In Texas, funding is completely separate between capital projects and general (education) fund,” he told Rivals.com in a 2010 article. “If we don’t build the stadium, none of that money could go to teachers or classrooms.”
What do you think of spending public funds on such an extravagant high school stadium? Is it money well spent, or another example of misplaced priorities?