It’s not every day a high school football stadium is catapulted into national news. It’s even less common when it doesn’t exist yet. But McKinney North High School, about 30 miles outside of Dallas, is soon to have what reports are calling the most expensive high school football stadium ever built.
The Washington Post noted that recently, voters approved a $50.3 million bond proposal that, when coupled with $12.5 million approved in 2000, will enable the school district to construct a $62.8 million, 12,000-seat stadium.
McKinney has about 150,000 residents, and reports indicate the measure was part of a $220 million bond package to provide other improvements to schools. School officials say the facility will be used for soccer games, band competitions as well as for state football games.
An adjacent activity center will be available for other events and developers hope that retail and restaurant development near the site will follow. It wouldn’t be unexpected, as many sports facilities are now attracting more economic development.
An interesting trend in economic development – which used to follow only pro stadiums – is its ability to drill down to lower levels of competition. Minor League Baseball facilities are one example of those attracting nearby restaurants, strip malls and more, but so are college sports facilities and even soccer parks that attract weekend tournaments at various levels.
A high school football facility with this level of sophistication also can be expected to attract its share of interest in the sports tourism market. As high-profile camps and championships begin looking for homes, the cache of a nationally known facility could make a big difference in the site selection process. Expect that to give the area even more of a boost (known in the sports tourism trade as economic impact.)
Dallas News SportsDay also noted that in addition to McKinney North, the stadium will be used by the district’s two other high schools, McKinney High and McKinney Boyd, as well as any other high school that will open. The original bond plan speculated there could be five or six 3,000 student high schools.
Some voters were turned off by the measure, seeing it as overkill, and as a gesture of one-upmanship over adjacent school districts. And there may be some truth to that. The Washington Post article added, “McKinney’s new stadium will fit right in in the Dallas area and the Lone Star State, where there’s a bit of what the Dallas Morning News refers to as a stadium arms race when it comes to replacing antiquated facilities. The city of Allen has the $60-million, 18,000-seat Eagle Stadium. Katy, Texas, is presently building a $62.5-million stadium that is set to open in 2017. Frisco school district teams will play in a facility called The Star, a $255.5-million collaboration involving the Dallas Cowboys, who will practice there, the city of Frisco and the Frisco school district. Frisco, Allen and McKinney are located just a few miles apart, north of Dallas.”
But all politicking aside, this is an ASBA blog. And we know ASBA members want to know: who has thrown their hat into the ring for this job? Who has worked with the school district? Inquiring minds want to know (and no matter who designs, builds, appoints or surfaces it, we’re pretty sure this project will turn up as an entry in the Association’s awards program.)