High school unveils $60 million stadium

AllenHigh near Dallas christens its new stadium Friday night. (AP Photo)

AllenHigh near Dallas christens its new stadium Friday night. (AP Photo)

The Eagles unveil their brand new $60 million football stadium tonight, a double-decker with 38-foot high-def video screen and corporate sponsors.

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?

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149 comments Add your comment

RetiredAthlete

August 31st, 2012
8:38 am

Sure, if the people of the area voted it through then I don’t mind. For as hard as those kids work to play football they deserve a nice place to play. And not just them but all the kids who came before and will come after them. Apparently it will also be used by the wrestling and golf teams (soccer maybe, if they allow that kind of thing in Texas).

It’s that towns money to use. If they see this as acceptable and as a possible money maker down the line then who am I to tell them they shouldn’t spend their money this way.

LOL

August 31st, 2012
8:40 am

How many teachers have had their pay reduced to pay for this I wonder?

Seriously?

August 31st, 2012
8:48 am

Seriously? 60mil for a high school stadium complex. Wow…

Silver Creek Dawg

August 31st, 2012
8:49 am

LOL, if you actually read the article, you’d know the answer. It’s none.

In TX, capital projects (like the stadium, a new school building, etc) are funded separately from classroom purposes (like hiring teachers, school books, etc). The money in one fund can’t be transferred into the other fund.

Chris

August 31st, 2012
8:51 am

Teachers did not have pay reduced. This was a bond that was passed by the citizens on this area. The state of Texas is actually one of the few states not laying off teachers and are in fact still hiring. While the state is a whole does not perform well the major metro area like Dallas and Austin has very high performing schools. As mentioned in the article this was part of a $219 million bond that also paid for the constuction of an equally outstanding fine arts facility

Fantastic

August 31st, 2012
8:55 am

Good for them. Better to put the money in something tangible than pour it down the hole of the general education fund with no obvious benefits.

Buddy Garrity

August 31st, 2012
9:03 am

Clear Eyes Full Hearts Can’t Lose!

THIS IS CRAZY

August 31st, 2012
9:10 am

I am sure that most of the students at that school don’t play football, and thus get no direct benefit from this structure. Regardless of the funding mechanism, it speaks volumes when there is a $60 million stadium on campus, but no comparable expenditure for education. It has often been said, you can tell where people’s priorities are by seeing where they spend their money. This might send the message that football is the most important thing at that school. No one is saying they don’t have a right to build this stadium. Just because something CAN be done mean is SHOULD be done?

Silly Waste of Money

August 31st, 2012
9:14 am

I’m sorry but this is completely asinine. In the article the dellusional football boosters try to say this was a good idea in a down economy because “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.”

How on earth is that a good argument for spending $60m when there are so many other areas of education in need right now? Guess what? There are very few people that will get a chance to play in Yankee stadium either – does that mean you should go out and build a $2B stadium?

They even go as far as to admit the construction costs will never be recouped…. I’d suspect this is similar for many pro stadiums (especially ones that are publically finances), but they also bring in far more revenue than $35k/year. Let’s say that there are 8 home games a year and they sell out the stadium. Let’s also generously say that each person in attendence brings in an additional $25 in profit (not revenue). Those are rather unrealistic numbers but even with that assumption the gross profit increase year over year is $3.5m. The break even point on that is nearly 20 years! It’s much more realistic to assume that the taxpayers that footed this bill will never see an actualized gain of $60m.

If that father wants his son to play in a nice stadium, then he needs to foot the bill, not the taxpayers.

I’m not one to think that simply throwing extra money at education will fix the ills in our system, but it is really silly for a voting base to have approved a bond for something like this in leiu of a bond for increasing teacher pay or buying additional supplies. They may claim that there is no way for the money to be used to pay teachers, but in reality, that’s because they’re simply not trying. They could always propose it to the voters and allow people to vote on making that happen.

Journalism

August 31st, 2012
9:15 am

I think a good piece of information would have been the number of students enrolled at the high school. High schools can range from 100s of students to thousands.

Curious George

August 31st, 2012
9:19 am

Was this stadium funding part of Barry’s half-baked “Federal Stimulus Package?”

Silly Waste of Money

August 31st, 2012
9:25 am

Last part of my comment seemed to have gotten cut off…

Like other people have mentioned though, this was the decision of the voters of Allen, TX, and if that’s what they truely wanted to have and how they wanted to spend their money, good for them, that’s their decision. Still seems like a waste of money though.

captaincrunch

August 31st, 2012
9:26 am

They should be allowed to build this if they voted for it. – True
You can’t fix stupid.- True

Priority Geek

August 31st, 2012
9:27 am

And how much did they spend on improving education?

Are You Serious?

August 31st, 2012
9:28 am

@Curious George…LOL…You blame “Barry” for this too? GEESH…

Techmom

August 31st, 2012
9:31 am

What a waste. The money may not have been able to go towards teacher pay but I’m quite sure it could have gone to build additional classrooms, science labs, computer equipment, etc. Most of the school bonds in Ga go towards capital-only projects as well but when you don’t have to pay for capital expenses out of the general budget, that [typically] means more of the operating budget can pay for things like teacher pay and supplies.

I wonder how many of the voters knew that more than a quarter of the money from the bond referendum they voted for was going to a stadium? Voters need to educate themselves and not just vote on every ‘education’ bond that comes their way.

Athletic Supporter

August 31st, 2012
9:31 am

I work in the school system and I’m also a coach. Everybody complain about spending money on a stadium and sports but they fail to acknowledge that football brings in the most money to the school to fund other things. As the article stated, the money couldn’t have went to the classrooms or teachers. As much as everyone hate to admit, sports bring school spirt and the community to the school NOT the teachers and classoom setting.

Jennifer

August 31st, 2012
9:32 am

the high school has 4,000 students

their website: http://www.allenisd.org

Master of Obvious

August 31st, 2012
9:32 am

LOL must be a public school teacher.

Jennifer

August 31st, 2012
9:36 am

They also have a 98.7% graduation rate and a lower student/teacher ratio than the majority of metro school systems, especially here in Gwinnett. Its America, the people voted, they used the money how they saw fit with people making the decisions that were voted into office.

Tammy

August 31st, 2012
9:40 am

“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.”
And then after they graduate perhaps they’ll be able to work at Walmart or one of the myriad other low wage jobs that Texas is so proud to have created over the past ten years. Sounds great…enjoy the field while you can cause you’re gonna be stocking shelves soon enough.

Melinda O'Brien

August 31st, 2012
9:41 am

My son attends Allen High School so I will tell you what I know from the inside. Allen High School is an incredible school. As the article mentions, not only did we get the football stadium, we got an incredible performing/fine arts venue that is used by the school AND the community. My son doesn’t play football, but he is in one of the school’s five orchestras, so he is able to benefit from the bond money. Whether or not we needed a $60-million stadium might be debatable, but we did need a new stadium. The old wasn’t large enough, there was very little parking and it was time to replace it. If you’ve ever seen “Friday Night Lights,” that was no exaggeration. In Texas, football rules. There are people with season tickets who haven’t had a child in the school system for 20 years, they just love the game. Season tickets are sold by lottery; you put your name in a bucket and if it’s drawn, you get to buy tickets. Games in the old stadium were sold out on a regular basis, if you wanted to buy tickets, chances are you would end up on the visitor’s side. This new stadium will give the infrequent football fan like me an opportunity to actually buy a ticket and sit on the home side.

As the article states, Allen ISD teachers did not lose wages, nor were positions cut because of the stadium. Honestly, I don’t think our teachers are paid enough for the work they do, but that is true just about anywhere.

Oh, and did you know that Allen has the largest high school marching band in the United States? 845 kids march in our band along with the drill team and color guard. Check out our high school at http://http://www.allenisd.org/allenhs to see what our school is all about.

Union

August 31st, 2012
9:42 am

good for them.. at least it wasnt a $578 million dollar high school..

Bill

August 31st, 2012
9:48 am

OK, the money could not have been spent in the classroom. That does not mean it had to be spent in other ways. They could have saved local taxpayers $60m in debt, which the entire public will have to pay for whether they have football players, or even students in the family.

Woodstock Dawg

August 31st, 2012
9:52 am

Everything is bigger in Texas, even the Stupid.

Just Wow

August 31st, 2012
9:59 am

and yet, Georgia can’t pass a one cent tax to help eliviate traffic and create more jobs.

Joe

August 31st, 2012
10:02 am

Coming from the same BoE that proposed creationism being taught alongside evolution. It’s nice to know that education comes first in Texas.

WTF

August 31st, 2012
10:04 am

Just Wow. Your assuming a one cent tax would have done that.

No child left behind

August 31st, 2012
10:07 am

If he can carry a football

mikk

August 31st, 2012
10:08 am

It’s good to have nice things ! Teaching the kids valuable capitalistic lessons. Achievement pays off- see their rich Daddy’s.

meg

August 31st, 2012
10:09 am

Stupid is as stupid does…. This is the biggest waste of friggin money I’ve ever heard of.
… Bunch of morons…..

Matthew

August 31st, 2012
10:12 am

People are just making stuff up.

A) The funding is separate from education funding.

B) It was locally approved

C) Allen is a good school system and education funding is not lacking

D) Allen, a city of approximately 100,000, has ONE high school. Allen High has 5000 students. So this is the equivalent of a stadium built for 2-3 high schools here in the metro area.

Sure, the money could have been thrown to other communities who would have likely done something much less tangible with it, but why? People in Allen wanted to do this for their community, so what business is it of yours?

Val

August 31st, 2012
10:12 am

Maybe they will use it for graduations also who knows.

dr

August 31st, 2012
10:14 am

See the nice things you can have when business is booming as it is in texas? Take note libs – red state with red leadership and red citizenry gets to have nice things.

Show me where one of these is being built in california, vermont, michigan or any other state you’ve gutted and bankrupted with your idealistic professor led social and business policies.

meg

August 31st, 2012
10:14 am

love the “no child left behind” comment! -You are absolutely right!

Mike

August 31st, 2012
10:17 am

Personally, I find this to be excessive and a gross misuse of public funds. There is no way that a high school *needs* this. However, if the locals voted for it and are willing to take on the debt, then by all means, we should let nothing stand in their way.

po

August 31st, 2012
10:18 am

ah, the misplaced public priorities of disposable wealth . . . but then we’ll probably all be constructing a stadium because a rich owner wants us to . . .

seriously?

August 31st, 2012
10:23 am

I agree you can’t fix stupid. I’m talking to you Just Wow.

Bush-Whacked

August 31st, 2012
10:25 am

It sounds as though Texas has another Bush for Governor who is about to bankrupt his state,Team and ultimately the entire United States!

Drago

August 31st, 2012
10:27 am

Happy for them. Hope the stadium is full every Friday.

Union

August 31st, 2012
10:27 am

Bush-Whacked

August 31st, 2012
10:25 am
It sounds as though Texas has another Bush for Governor who is about to bankrupt his state,Team and ultimately the entire United States!

umm.. yeah.. texas is doing pretty well in the finance and education dept.. how is that grad rate coming along in ga again?

Ray

August 31st, 2012
10:28 am

AJC, you are a joke. This is a headline on your front page, yet zero mention of the Republican Convention and Romney’s speech last night. Yes, I’ll say it again, AJC, you are a pathetic joke.

Sponsors

August 31st, 2012
10:29 am

Who is Sponsoring this stadium????………Has to be a Beer or Alcohol company because the local officials have been drinking too much!

Ray

August 31st, 2012
10:31 am

Hey Union, the people VOTED for it. It has nothing to do with who is governor. And Texas is NOT going bankrupt like a lot of loser blue states are. Texas is thriving. You have no clue what you are talking about.

Message to Union

August 31st, 2012
10:32 am

The Grad rate in Georgia is excellent here because the teachers are correcting all the wrong answers on the kids tests!

Devil's Advocate

August 31st, 2012
10:33 am

Smoke and mirrors accounting…of course funds are separate. The real issue is how is funding acquired in the first place. If funds are raised via taxation then it doesn’t matter how many accounts the money is disbursed into, the source is the same.

I agree that if people voted for taxes to pay for the stadium then there is no political or legal problem. However, were citizens given a clear choice between funding classrooms and funding a stadium? I assume it was a simple yes/no for the stadium project and there was no option to vote for taxes for classroom improvements. Football or no football, I don’t see myself ever voting for a new tax for such a focused expensive project. I think it’s different than voting for general improvements to a school system where a new or renovated stadium is included yet doesn’t cost $60 million.

At the end of the day, these people bought themselves a new stadium. Buying something implies a simple purchase, not an investment since they never hope to recoup the cost of building. If they think $60 million is well spent on a high school football stadium that isn’t shared by multiple schools that’s their problem. To each their own. I just hope they don’t complain about any local issues that tax money could have addressed anytime soon.

Paul

August 31st, 2012
10:35 am

Just a bunch of parents living through their kids again…

Hey Ray

August 31st, 2012
10:35 am

You know a paper sucks when a Drunk Clint Eastwood grabs the headlines over a Presidential Canidate!

Ray

August 31st, 2012
10:36 am

Devil’s Advocate, just to let you know that part of Texas has a lot of successful people (to liberals, that means they are mean rich people, but I digress). So, if it makes you feel any better, their schools are state of the art and there is no shortage of funding for improvements to academic facilities or anything academic related. Just thought you would like to know.

Thanks Mexico

August 31st, 2012
10:39 am

Texas can afford new stadiums because they have been confiscating millons in Drug money from the cartels from Mexico!