TEXAS: High School Plans $70M Football Stadium

The Los Angeles Times reports:

In bigger-is-better Texas, Eagle Stadium, which rivals Staples Center in capacity with 18,000 seats, gives the suburban Dallas high school serious bragging rights. But in the battle of one-upmanship among Texas high schools, a challenger is rising close to home.

The school district just up the street in McKinney plans to break ground within a month on a nearly $70-million stadium — the newest competitor in a spend-off critics call a stadium arms race.

“Oh, it’s a rivalry,” said Adam Blanchet, a junior at McKinney North, one of the three high schools in the McKinney Independent School District that will use the new stadium. “I have pride knowing my district is going to have the most expensive stadium in the country.”

The original proposal called for a stadium costing about $63 million, but the price rose due mainly to skyrocketing concrete prices. To cover the increased cost, the district will use leftover money from a previous bond, district spokesman Cody Cunningham said.

The stadium — which will be outfitted with a 55-foot-wide, high-definition video screen and an artificial-grass field — is being built by the same construction company that did the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park, where the Texas Rangers play. With seating for 12,000, it could accommodate half the enrollment of the entire 24,500-student, pre-K-to-12 district.

District officials and stadium supporters are quick to point out that the stadium will have multiple uses and was part of a five-year, $220-million bond package that upgraded or added new facilities across the district. The stadium, though, was the biggest part of the plan voters approved in May by 62%.

Although Texas has an equalization law requiring districts in property-wealthy areas to share money with poorer districts — often called the “Robin Hood plan” — money from bond elections doesn’t have to be shared.