This archived article was written by: Ryan Nelson
We all know how big football is in the South. From the big college teams like Alabama, Texas and the Gators, but this story takes us to Allen, Texas where the Eagles of Allen High School now have a $60 million dollar football stadium. Now ask yourself, Isn’t that a bit overboard? Maybe not , but with this recent addition to Allen High School, football fans are sure going to enjoy their high school football games.
With the artificial turf, the huge HD video scoreboard which stands 75-by-45 feet tall and a multi-level press box, fans will love these college-like additions to their high school stadium. Not only will the fans enjoy these add-ons, but students will also. This new stadium includes a weight room and a wrestling room. You might just say that this stadium has it all. It just comes down to how good those hot dogs and nachos are, and not to mention the price.
All this came about when the school district received a $119 million dollar bond package that was passed by voters in May 2009. Along with that $60 million, the bond also included $36.5 million for a transportation, maintenance and nutrition center and also a $23.3 million dollar auditorium for the district’s performing arts. Not only was this money spent for a new stadium, but they also helped out the school as well. At first glance all you hear about is their $60 million dollar stadium, not about the academic side of the bond. Good thing it helped out the school more than just athletics, or they might have some angry people on their case.
That’s an intense amount of money that they spent for a high school football stadium. Let’s compare this stadium to a college stadium, for instances the Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Allen Texas stadium holds 18,000 people at the cost of $60 million, and the Rice-Eccles Stadium holds 45,017, at the cost of $71.3 million. That’s a huge gap between how much the stadiums can hold, whereas the gap between the prices that were paid isn’t that big. It’s kind of shocking to think that high school paid as much to build a football stadium as a NCAA football team did. Now according to TIME, The Allen Eagles football stadium is only the third largest in the nation. It makes you think how much money went into those two other stadiums to make them that big.
There are some pros and cons to this. On the pros side, college recruits will be looking at high schools where there are some great athletes. Being ranked second in the nation will attract a lot of attention from colleges. Now here’s my though on it, they build a $60 million facility, they are saying, “hey scouts, come here, look at our athletes.” We will probably be seeing some mighty fine athletes coming from this high school into college, and possibly all the way up into the NFL. Now for the Allen Eagle fans, a $60 million dollar stadium, is a dream come true. Think about that kind of addition to your high school, pretty nice isn’t it? Now the flip side, with $60 million dollars you think there might have been some other things that would have benefitted more with this money? What about funding scholarships for students to attend college? Possibly they didn’t have to spend that much on the stadium and maybe split it up a little more and help other areas of the school benefit from it. With the economy, how it is today, $60 million for a high school football stadium seems a bit much, not to mention that there were employees laid off in the school district during this time.
The principle of Allen High School, Steve Payne, told ABC News, “We are an exemplary high school. I think our first-class facilities tell everybody that we have first-class academics and first-class kids. Without them, we wouldn’t have those first-class facilities.” I wonder what kind of input we would get from someone in that town not employed by the district, or maybe even an employee that was laid off during all this?
Whatever you take out of this, remember we are talking about the South, and football to them is like the air we breathe, we need it to live.