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Allen Football Team Won't Play At $60 Million Eagle Stadium Due To 'Design Deficiencies'

The Allen High School football team won’t be playing at the $60 million Eagle Stadium this fall due to structural problems that will take time to repair, district officials announced.

Nelson Forensics, consultants hired by the district, identified "design deficiencies" in the stadium's elevated concourse. Those deficiencies fail to meet building codes and reduce the safety and strength of the concourse, the district says.

Allen will play its home football games in Plano this fall.

Allen ISD announced in February it was temporarily shutting down the stadium after extensive cracks were found in the building’s concrete. Nelson Forensics is studying the stadium cracks and will report back to the district in June – the extent of the damage won’t be known until then. The repair costs won’t be known until designs are prepared and contractors have been consulted, the district says.

The district says that Allen ISD officials, as well as representatives from Pogue Construction and PBK Architects Inc. have met to “determine the scope of the problem and possible solutions.” The companies offered to put $2 million into an escrow account to fund the repairs, but a “legal snarl” between their insurance companies led to the companies to withdraw their escrow offer, district officials say.

What the companies say

Pogue Construction and PBK have said they are working with the district to address the stadium issues.

“We will continue to work with Allen ISD and the parties involved to give the people of Allen the stadium they deserve,” a statement from Pogue Construction said earlier this year.

“Once a repair solution has been agreed upon, PBK and Pogue Construction will implement the repair at no cost to the district,” PBK said in a statement Monday, The Dallas Morning News reported. “Our goal is to provide the taxpayers of Allen exactly what they paid for.”

What the district says 

The stadium is not safe for "public assembly," Allen ISD superintendent Lance Hindt told The Dallas Morning News,which first reported news of the extended closure in Tuesday's newspaper.

Hindt told KERA this spring that the stadium issue "is not a black eye for Allen ISD."

“This is a black eye for the architect and the contractor and I can promise you, they want to make sure it’s done right and that it’s fixed to our expectation," Hindt told KERA.

About the stadium

Eagle Stadium opened in 2012 and earned national attention for its cost and fancy features. It seats 18,000 and includes a 38-foot wide high-definition video screen.

ESPN reported on the stadium when it opened:

It's not the biggest high school stadium in football-mad Texas, but Eagle Stadium is the grandest, with a spacious weight room for the players and practice areas for Allen High School's wrestling and golf teams. The school district decided to build it in a down economy, knowing full well it never will recoup the costs. It's a decision that local officials and team supporters defend, saying the stadium will serve as a community centerpiece and source of pride for years to come and will more than pay the costs of operating it.

What the football team says

Allen football coach Tom Westerberg said in a news release that the loss of Eagle Stadium will have no bearing on his team's efforts for a third consecutive state championship. "The stadium does not make the team; the players make the team," Westerberg said. 
Since the team won't be playing at Eagle Stadium, no season tickets will be sold this year and all seating will be general admission, the district says.
Learn more

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.