Eagle Stadium: Underneath the cracks

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by BYRON HARRIS

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WFAA

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 21 at 6:03 PM

Allen Eagle Stadium

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ALLEN — The cracks in the concourse at Allen High School's Eagle Stadium apparently hide a bigger problem.

Although the concrete concourse appears to be a big patio, much of it covers offices underneath. And supporting the patio are joists — beams which appear to have been designed contrary to code.

The skeletons of the beams are lengths of steel reinforcing rods, held together by "stirrups" designed to prevent diagonal cracks.

Dr. Simon Chao of the UT Arlington School of Engineering told News 8 that engineers prefer to keep the space between stirrups small.

But in a letter to PBK, the stadium's architect, and Pogue Construction, the stadium's builder, Allen ISD's attorney said instead of being 11 to 12 inches apart  — as required by code — the stirrups were placed 13 to 14 inches apart.

The cracks in the concrete patio and the stirrup spacing do not appear to be related at this point.

But attorney Mark Walsh indicated in his letter to the architect and builder that the loads estimated for the deck appear to be 70 percent greater than their design capacity.

While there are fixes for cracks in concrete, repairs for both the concrete concourse and the joists underneath could be much more complicated.

PBK Architects issued this statement on Tuesday:

"PBK is committed to serving the needs of our clients before, during and after the design and construction of a project, and the Allen ISD Eagle Stadium is no exception. We continue to work closely with the Allen Independent School District to reopen Eagle Stadium as soon as possible. In the coming weeks, findings will be presented and a repair solution jointly determined with the District. We will do whatever it takes to implement the repairs at absolutely no cost to the Allen ISD or taxpayers."

PBK Architects has designed 10 other stadiums in Texas. News 8 contacted all of them on Tuesday. Those who responded said they were happy with the architect's work.

On May 15, the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners fined three of PBK’s architects between $10,000 and $15,000 each for a technical violation of rules governing how they do business with school districts.

According to state documents, in 2011, PBK was already designing a high school in Corpus Christi, and was seeking to design a middle school there as well. During a presentation to the school board on the middle school project, architects said that they could save the district more than $100,000 on design work, according to state documents.

After an investigation, the architectural board determined that the architects violated a state rule prohibiting architects from providing information about the cost of services to prospective governmental entities prior to selection on the basis of qualification. It is believed to be the first time the board has found an architect in violation of that rule in the state.

In a statement to News 8 on May 21, 2014, PBK says the 2011 complaint was filed by "...competing architectural firms who did not receive the commission for the middle school..." The statement also says there was no intentional violation of the rule on the part of the PBK architects.

"...Due to the extensive amount of time consumed by the investigation – as well as harm done to PBK’s reputation stemming from the initial complaint and the vicious blackmail campaign that followed – the three partners found it in the firm’s best interest to expedite a resolution through mediated concession," the statement says.

E-mail bharris@wfaa.com

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