ALLEN -- Eighteen months after it opened, the concourse at Allen ISD's Eagle Stadium is tarped up and taped up. And the entire stadium is shut down.

'This closure will last at least until June. Allen High School graduation will be moved,' said interim superintendent Beth Nicholas. She warned that football games during in the fall of 2014 might be impacted as well.

'Repairs could be extensive and may take months to complete,' she said.

Allen voters approved the construction of the stadium as part of a $120 million bond issue in 2009 by a 63-percent majority vote. The stadium cost almost $60 million. It opened in August 2012.

Allen ISD said cracks in the concrete were noticed even before the stadium opened, but they have widened and worsened. The cracks are believed to be concentrated on the concourse area only.

No evidence of any foundation failure has been discovered.

As the cracks grew, concern did, too. Allen ISD hired an independent engineering firm to conduct an independent investigation.

That investigation is only 10 percent complete, but the firm suggested the closure 'out of an abundance of caution' and the district complied, Nicholas said.

'We're very disappointed and upset,' she said. 'It's unacceptable.

'We want to get to the bottom of it of course, because our taxpayers deserve it And the students deserve that,' she continued.

The district notified parents via letters and an automated messaging system as it held a news conference to address the issue with the media.

'I'd heard some rumblings that it had been closed, because some of my son's soccer games had been moved. They had said it was cracks,' said parent Cathy Nichols. 'I look at it as it could happen to anyone. You go buy a house, and you can't guarantee every single material in that house.'

'They're gonna go take care of it. They're not asking us to pay for additional repairs, so go and take care of it. Make sure we're safe,' she added. 'That's all you can ask from the district.'

The cost of the investigation is not yet determined, which means the cost of repairs is far from being known.

The contractor, Pogue Construction, who was chosen to build the stadium through a bid process, pledged to make things right.

'We will be a partner for the solution,' said Pogue Construction President and CEO Ben Pogue. 'To the taxpayers, you will have a wonderful product that will continue to generate sales and income for Allen. This is a road bump.'

The independent investigation will attempt to determine culpability and from there, someone will be forced to take financial responsibility.

The district and Pogue both said they believe they can come to an amicable conclusion.

Pogue is also building a $36-million service center. The construction of that facility just began and an independent review of that project is also underway.


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