Friday, February 28, 2014

2-year-old, $60 million Texas high school stadium closed for 'extensive cracking': Report

A $60 million Texas high school football stadium that got national attention for its perceived extravagance and excessive price tag will be shut down indefinitely just 18 months after its opening, school district officials said Thursday.

Eagle Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Allen will be closed until at least June for an examination of "extensive cracking" in the structural concrete of the stadium's concourse which officials have called "unacceptable." 

The closure will likely affect home games at the stadium this fall, the district said.

School officials said the cracked areas — possibly caused by weather and shifting soil — have been covered by tarps.

Built in 2012 as part of a $120 million bond issue, Eagle Stadium rivals some college stadiums. It seats 18,000 people and sports a 38-foot-wide video board.

The stadium's opening was a moment of pride for the community of Allen and its taxpayers, a fast-growing Dallas suburb that has become home to a high school football powerhouse. The Eagles won the Class 5A Division I state championship last year.

District officials defended the cost — a budget-busting figure even in football-crazy Texas, home to hundreds of schools playing under the "Friday Night Lights" — by calling the stadium an investment for generations of future Eagles fans and a much-needed upgrade from the district's previous 35-year-old field.

There's no word on where the funds to repair the damage will come from.

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