Allen stadium cracks renew anger of those opposed to its construction

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by BYRON HARRIS

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WFAA

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 8:22 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 1 at 9:57 AM

ALLEN -- Allen ISD's Eagle Stadium is closed and may not re-open for the fall football season.

Cracks -- some as much as three-fourths of an inch wide -- have been creeping across the stadium's flat concourse since it opened last year.

The most opulent high school stadium in Texas is back in the news, and it reminds some Allen residents of their anger that it was built in the first place.

"This is a disproportionately large amount of our tax dollars that goes just to Allen ISD," said Rachel Palmer, an Allen resident.

She said 67 percent of her family's property taxes now go to the school district, up more than 10 percent from when the bond issue passed in 2009.

The stadium is still under warranty and the repairs won't cost taxpayers any more money. The school district is investigating the cracks' extent and causes.

"This is a road bump," said Ben Pogue, president of Pogue Construction, the stadium's general contractor. "And as we go through life, there are road bumps."

"Cracking is fairly common in concrete," said Dr. Simon Chao of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. "The problem is the damage water may cause by getting in the crtacks."

These cracks are large by many standards.

Pogue has done 105 school projects in North Texas. The company says it doesn't know yet which subcontractor might be responsible for the defects.

The stadium was part of a $119 million bond issue passed in 2009. Although the measure passed with more than 60 percent of the vote, turnout was small.

For Robert Palmer, Rachel Palmer's husband, the stadium problems send a message.

"The lesson that we need to learn out of this," he said, "is to stop this fiscal irresponsibility before it starts."

E-mail bharris@wfaa.com

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