The Allen school board authorized Monday night the use of up to $2 million to expedite repairs to Eagle Stadium, the district’s $60 million football facility that was shut down earlier this year after it was found to be riddled with cracks.
The board approved the recommendation of district Superintendent Lance Hindt, who said the process of fixing the stadium can’t wait any longer if it’s to be ready for May’s graduation ceremony. PDK Architects and Pogue Construction are negotiating how much of the repair bill each side should burden. The two companies will pay back any costs incurred by Allen ISD.
“I look to have repairs started in the next two weeks with this resolution passed,” Hindt told the board. “I can’t allow PDK and Pogue to dictate the timeline to get this stadium open.”
But regardless of how much the repairs will cost, and when they’ll be finished, one thing, for now, is certain: The Allen football team, winners of the past two Class 5A Division I state championships, will be displaced for a year, as the Eagles will play home games at Kimbrough Stadium and Clark Stadium in Plano.
One Tarrant County coach who can sympathize with Allen temporarily leaving its once-sparkling, 18,000-seat stadium is Southlake Carroll’s Hal Wasson.
Wasson and the Dragons opened the 2012 season at Allen, losing the first game in the new stadium 24-0. Wasson said it was evident quickly how special Eagle Stadium was to Allen. He equated it to the advantages Carroll has at Dragon Stadium, the team’s 11,000-seat facility.
As a one-school district, Carroll is one of just a handful of area teams that doesn’t share a stadium.
“There’s no doubt, from the one time we played there, that you could feel the sense of community pride in that stadium,” Wasson said. “It’s the friendly confines of having your own stadium. Your kids grow up wanting to play there, and you have the comforts of your own dressing room and your routine. At least it’s that way for us. And so there’s no surprises in that.”
Still, if there’s a program that can withstand a season outside of its comfort zone, it would be Allen, which has only lost a game the last two seasons. The Eagles also return quarterback Kyler Murray, who earned offensive MVP honors in Allen’s 63-28 win over Pearland in the Class 5A Division I title game.
“With the talent and program Allen has now, I don’t know that playing away from Eagle Stadium will negate the success of their season,” Wasson said. “But what it does negate is that sense of comfort and pride you have in the stadium. You hate it for the seniors.”