Catherine Ross, Allen Reporter
After two years of construction, stadium ready to open football season.
The Allen Eagles will host Southlake Carroll in the first game of their football season on Aug. 31 for the inaugural game of the district's $60 million stadium.
Even before the new stadium broke ground, the project made national headlines.
In 2009, voters approved the expensive new facility because many said the old 14,000-seat capacity was not enough to accommodate the fans.
"It shows that the people of Allen support their kids," said Allen head football coach Tom Westerberg.
Just days before Westerberg's team begins practices, the district offered a first look at its new crown jewel.
The 18,000-seat stadium boasts NaturalGrass Matrix turf, a 75-by-45 foot HD video scoreboard, a weight room and sunken-bowl design.
"When it's all said and done, we're going to have over 8,000 season ticket holders," said athletic director Steve Williams.
Most season tickets are gone, but a few will go on sale early next week.
Williams was also quick to note that the facility is not all about football.
It also hosts an indoor golf practice area and wrestling practice facility. Both programs have a strong history of achievement, he said.
The privilege of playing in the new stadium is not lost on the players.
Incoming senior and defensive back Michael Jacob said the team doesn't feel any extra pressure to perform but is excited to get on the field.
"We just have to [be] blessed and humble and not take it for granted," he said.
Christian Herr, an architect with PBK, who worked on the project, said he wouldn't be surprised if other districts did not also look at going "bigger" after playing in Allen.
"There's a competition -- not only on the field, but off the field -- where they're going to want larger stadiums as well," he said.