State News

Mar 2, 2014 12:32 PM

Questions Surround Closing of "New" $60 Million High School Football Field

ALLEN, Texas (AP) - An architecture company says extensive cracking at a $60 million Texas high school football stadium is not the result of flaws in its design, according to a newspaper report published Saturday.

Houston-based PBK Architects told The Dallas Morning News (http://dallasne.ws/1eBMrzr ) that the cracks in the concourse are "shrink cracks" that can be repaired and don't threaten the stadium's structural integrity.

In some spots, the cracks are three-quarters of an inch wide and officials with the Allen Independent School District say they're getting worse.

"We do not feel this is a design issue," PBK partners Fred Montes and Irene Nigaglioni told the newspaper. They vowed to "stand behind the interests of Allen ISD long after the construction of a project is complete."

The district announced earlier this week that Eagle Stadium will be closed until at least June, but could affect next season's home games.

Built in 2012 as part of a $120 million bond issue, the stadium seats 18,000 and sports a 38-foot-wide video board. The stadium's opening was a moment of triumph for the community of Allen, 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 - an eye-popping figure even in football-mad 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.

They planned to host state playoff games and other events at Eagle Stadium. Instead, the district's graduation ceremonies will be affected and all other events are now on hold.

PBK's final report is pending, as are the results of an engineering investigation by Nelson Forensics, a firm hired by the school district.

Ben Pogue, president and CEO of Pogue Construction, which built the stadium, said cracks in concrete are common. He said his firm was working with the district and its own subcontractors to review the issue and devise solutions.

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