This report was released by the Allen ISD on May 20
Allen High School's Eagle Stadium will remain closed for the 2014 football season after consulting engineers found significant structural problems with the Stadium that cannot be repaired quickly, Allen Independent School District Superintendent Lance Hindt announced today.
As a result, Allen will play its home football games in neighboring Plano in 2014 as well as have Plano host two games that were scheduled to be played in Allen, Hindt said. Those games will be played in Allen in 2015, when Allen will have eight home games.
The stadium decision came after an updated interim engineering report from the consultants hired by the district, Nelson Forensics, identified design deficiencies in the elevated concourse at the stadium that fail to meet building codes and reduce the safety and strength of the concourse, Hindt said.
The stadium was closed Feb. 27 after an initial structural analysis revealed design and construction deficiencies that were causing cracking on the concourse.
Since then, representatives from Allen ISD, Pogue Construction and PBK Architects Inc. have been meeting to determine the scope of the problem and possible solutions. As part of those discussions, and as the district's consulting engineer continued to identify the underlying cause of the concrete failure, the companies offered to place $2 million into an escrow account that would help fund the repairs and related costs caused by the stadium's closure.
However, a legal snarl between their insurance companies has caused the two firms to withdraw their escrow offer that would have been controlled by the school district, Hindt said.
"We were hopeful that the offer of $1 million each by Pogue and PBK would have allowed us to begin a proper repair without the added cost and delay of a lawsuit," Hindt said. "But we now have been informed by both companies that their insurance carriers refused to authorize the escrow payment."
The corporate heads of both companies offered the $2 million escrow after a detailed analysis by the consultants working for AISD said engineering failures were likely responsible for the majority of the problems in the 19-month-old stadium.
Hindt said he was disturbed that the district's effort to have the companies fund an escrow account was stymied by insurers for the two companies.
"Our commitment to Allen students and taxpayers remains firm that the stadium be repaired properly at the expense of those responsible for the failure: the architect and the builder," Hindt said. "We wanted to avoid the legal wrangling of which party is responsible for what percentage of the repair and thought we had reached an agreement where each company would put money in escrow for us to use while their legal liability would be worked out later. I am frustrated that the insurers and their lawyers prevented this from happening."
The full extent of the damage will not be known until Nelson completes its study and reports back to the school district in June, Hindt said. The likely costs of repair will not be known until conceptual designs are prepared and consultation with contractors has occurred. The companies offered the money as a sign of good faith that they would stand behind their work, saying they had $25 million in insurance to cover claims. They further said their experts estimated the $2 million as enough to pay for repairs and remediation.
The district was willing to accept the escrow payment, but had not agreed that it would be enough to properly repair the stadium, Hindt said, which would only be known when the final independent analysis is completed. In an effort to minimize the time the stadium will be closed, Nelson Forensics has partnered with a second firm, Datum Engineering, to begin developing plans for the repairs and coordinate with contractors to procure cost estimates for those repairs.
Engineers hired by the district have been working with engineers hired by each company to identify the full scope of the problem and the best way to fix it, Hindt said. Repair options are currently being analyzed.
In its latest report, Nelson Forensics said its review of engineering documents discovered areas where the design-load demand "exceeds the code-permitted capacity by 10 -20 percent at multiple locations, and by greater than 70 percent at isolated locations."
"The design deficiencies indicate reduction of the safe load carrying capacity of portions of the structure and reduction of the redundancy of the overall structure in the case of an isolated failure due to overload," the report says "The deficiencies are outside of acceptable margins for error, and indicate conditions which will require repair/strengthening for the structure to be brought into conformance with the applicable building code."
School district officials noticed the cracking near the time the stadium opened in September 2012, but were assured it was normal as concrete shrinks when it dries. When the cracks became more pervasive and grew in width, the district hired Nelson Forensics to investigate the cause.
Allen ISD Board of Trustees President Louise Master said the $2 million promised by the companies affirmed the board's decision to hire an independent engineer and insist that the repairs be done properly and at no additional cost to Allen. She said the board remains resolute that the stadium be repaired quickly and to the district's satisfaction.
"While we are extremely disappointed that the stadium will remain closed this fall, we recognize that our priority must be to provide a safe venue for our students and the public," Master said. "In the short time that he has been superintendent, Dr. Hindt has demonstrated his skill at protecting the interests of Allen ISD taxpayers."
Allen football coach Tom Westerberg said the loss of Eagle Stadium as a home field for this season will have no bearing on his team's efforts for a third consecutive state championship. "The stadium does not make the team, the players make the team," Westerberg said. "We began spring practice on May 5 and we look forward to Allen fans cheering for us at our 'home opener' on Sept. 5."
Allen had looked at other sites for home games, but was not able to find a venue large enough and close enough to meet the large crowd of Allen fans, parents, students and band members. Hindt said he recognizes that Plano is not a perfect solution, but one that made the most sense given the complexities of scheduling and the popularity of Allen football.
"We appreciate the efforts of our friendly rivals in Plano to accommodate us and provide a home stadium just 10 minutes away," Hindt said. "Plano ISD Superintendent Richard Matkin and Athletic Director Gerard Bence have our respect and thanks for their efforts to help minimize the closing of Eagle Stadium."
Because of the temporary loss of Eagle Stadium, no season tickets will be sold this year and all seating will be general admission. All 2013 season ticket holders will retain their current seats for the 2015 season.
Tentative Allen Eagles Football Schedule, 2014
Date Opponent Site Time 8/29 Denton Guyer University of North Texas 7:30 9/5 Dutch Fork (South Carolina) Plano (Kimbrough) 7:30 9/12 McKinney Boyd McKinney Boyd 7:30 9/18 (Thurs.) Plano Plano (Clark)* 7:00 9/26 Flower Mound Marcus Flower Mound Marcus 7:30 10/4 (Sat.) Lewisville Plano (Kimbrough) 1:00 10/10 Hebron Hebron 7:30 10/17 Open 10/24 Flower Mound Plano (Clark) 7:30 10/31 Plano West Plano (Clark) 7:30 11/7 Plano East Plano (Kimbrough)* 7:30