The deep cracks that forced Allen school officials to shutter Eagle Stadium were likely caused by structural problems with the nearly $60 million stadium's press box, scoreboard and more, a new report by engineering experts has found.
The report Nelson Forensics presented to the school board detailed numerous shortcomings in the 2-year-old stadium's structural design that extended beyond significant cracking, officials with the Allen Independent School District said Thursday.
They include "inadequate concrete columns that support the press box" and "insufficient steel framing of the press box," the report said. Also, connections at the base of the main scoreboard were not strong enough, and a retaining wall had inadequate steel reinforcement, it found.
Allen ISD has authorized its consulting engineers to begin working on a plan to repair Eagle Stadium starting in late July. The district hopes to have the stadium back in operation in time for graduation in June 2015.
"This district did everything it should have done with regards to this stadium. This is not a black eye – I've said that from the beginning – for Allen ISD, nor a black eye for the City of Allen," Superintendent of Schools Lance Hindt said Thursday.
The stadium was designed by PBK Architects Inc. and built by Pogue Construction. Hindt said the district will insist that PBK and Pogue pay for the repairs.
"We have an issue with an architect and a contractor. I'm not going to speculate who's more responsible than the other – they can work that out amongst the two of them – but they've accepted that responsibility," said Hindt.
Pogue Construction company's Ben Pogue also spoke to the media on Thursday.
He said the engineering firm's findings were similar to what Pogue's own assessment team found.
"We knew there were other issues and concerns around the stadium," Pogue said. Taxpayers will not be out a dime for this, and I want to be very clear. This is not their problem and it will not be their burden."
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The stadium, the most expensive high school stadium in the country, was shut down earlier this year amid concerns over the structural integrity due to "extensive cracking."
Allen ISD released the following to the media before the news conference Thursday:
Repair Schedule for Allen Eagle Stadium Taking Shape
Final engineering report reveals additional structural deficiencies
Allen ISD has authorized its consulting engineers to begin working on a plan to repair Eagle Stadium with a goal that it can be re-open in time for graduation next year, Superintendent of Schools Lance Hindt announced today.
The announcement comes after engineers provided a detailed presentation to school board members on Monday night that reported additional shortcomings in the structural design of the stadium that extended beyond significant cracking on the concourse level. Monday's meeting was in closed session as the board met with its lawyer to discuss the legal implications of the report.
Work crews could begin repairs in late July, Hindt said, starting with some the smaller design defects.
As the full scope of the project emerges, we are not able to develop a repair plan that will address the design flaws and have the stadium back in operation by next June," Hindt said.
Nelson Forensics, the engineering firm the district hired last year to investigate cracking on the concourse of the 18,000-seat stadium that opened in 2012, completed its analysis of the entire stadium and found structural design shortcomings in seven major areas: retaining walls, concourse framing, press box support columns, press box structure, single-story structures, main scoreboard and durability of the structure.
The engineers found no problems in the concrete seating, the concrete pier foundations that support the above-ground structure, and on the small scoreboard on the north side.
The stadium was designed by PBK Architects Inc. and built by Pogue Construction.
"These are primarily engineering failures," said Ryan T. Chancey, a structural engineer and executive director of operations at Nelson Forensics. "While the concourse is the largest and most serious area, we did find failures in the structural design throughout the stadium."
The deficiencies may not be visible, but their design does not meet building codes, particularly in high winds for the press box and scoreboard, and they must be fixed, Chancey said. Examples of the structural deficiencies uncovered beyond the concourse are:
- inadequate concrete columns that support the press box;
- insufficient steel framing of the press box;
- connections at the base of the main scoreboard are not strong enough;
- a retaining wall does not have adequate steel reinforcement.
Hindt said the district will insist that PBK and Pogue pay for the repairs. Both firms have said they will stand behind their work, but no agreement has yet been reached over how much each company should pay, Hindt said.
The cost of repairs is still being developed by Nelson and a second firm, Datum Engineering, which is developing the repair and strengthening plan. The district and its consulting engineers are in regular discussion with engineers hired by both PBK and Pogue.
The repair work will be broken into segments so construction can begin as the design for each segment is completed.
The stadium has been closed since Feb. 27 after an initial structural analysis revealed design and construction deficiencies that were causing cracking on the concourse. The district announced last month the stadium would remain closed until repairs are completed and relocated home football games to neighboring Plano.
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.
NBC 5's Elvira Sakmari, Holley Ford and Catherine Ross contributed to this report.