SBD/August 31, 2012/Facilities

Texas High School Unveils $60M Stadium Complete With High-Def Video Screen

The $59.6M Allen Stadium features wrestling and golf practice areas
Allen High School in Allen, Texas, will “raise the curtain on its latest field Friday: a $59.6 million sunken-bowl stadium that covers 72 acres and includes a high-definition video screen and free Wi-Fi for the more than 18,000 in attendance,” according to Eric Prisbell of USA TODAY. Allen's stadium has been “held up nationally to illustrate Texas excess, the next jaw-dropping step of a high school facilities arms race in a state where football rivals religion.” Eagle Stadium has “a practice area for boys and girls golf, and a 5,800-square-foot wrestling practice area and sprawling weight room were added underneath the stands.” Allen High sold “all 8,252 season tickets available this year.” The stadium is “part of a $119 million bond proposal approved in 2009” (USA TODAY, 8/30). Eagle Stadium is the “fifth-largest high school football stadium” in Texas, and it is the “largest such venue to have a single team” (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 8/25). The AP's Nomaan Merchant reported the city built the stadium "in a down economy, knowing full well it will never recoup the costs." That was 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." Allen Independent School District Dir of Public Information Tim Carroll said that Allen High has sold "six sponsorships for about $35,000 a year" (AP, 8/30).

BIG, BIGGER, BIGGEST: In San Antonio, Lorne Chan noted Eagle Stadium has “a 38-foot wide video screen for the folks in the nosebleeds,” and has “prompted plenty of debate over the excess of high school football.” Meanwhile, Carthage High School in East Texas is “unveiling the largest Jumbotron at a high school stadium Friday -- a 26-foot high and 44-foot wide video screen that would make Jerry Jones proud” (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 8/30). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Ana Campoy notes Carthage's $750,000 screen includes “instant replay, animated graphics to fire up the fans and individual stat cards for the teenage players, complete with pictures.” Illinois-based Nevco, the company that installed the screen, insists that it is "the nation's largest" for a high school. Carthage Independent School District Superintendent Glenn Hambrick said that the screen is “a luxury, but one that the natural-gas-rich area can afford.” He said that the scoreboard will “help raise money for the district through advertisements that can now be displayed with animation and in full color” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/31).
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