On Wednesday morning, McKinney ISD gave reporters and photographers a first look at its new $69.9 million football stadium.
"We're never going to apologize for having a first class facility. Our voters voted on this," said superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel. "The key thing here is we haven't forgone any other facility in our district in order to build this. Every other facility in our district is first class."
But even before it opens, there are problems. A report showed unexpected cracks in the concrete were caused by a problem of too much water in the concrete mix, and not enough steel reinforcement.
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"I can assure you, none of those issues are structural in nature," said McDaniel, assuring the stadium is safe. "You want to make sure that smaller cracks don't become larger, that you have the ability to maintain it for 50-years, and we're not going to settle for a stadium that isn't perfect."
The school district said repairs will be done in the off-season, and not at the expense of the district.
"The contractor and the architect have acknowledged all those issues will be paid for by them," said McKinney ISD board president Curtis Rippee. "And will cost the district no additional funds."
The district brought media on a guided tour of the new facility, as construction crews worked on last minute details.
The stadium includes a community events center that overlooks the field. It has 59 climate controlled women's bathroom stalls on each side. That's more than double the number of men's bathroom stalls. It also boasts the largest HD video screen at a high school stadium in Texas. The school district said the stadium was build with the ability to expand beyond 12,000 seats, as the city of McKinney continues to grow.
"I think Friday night lights are special," said athletic director Shawn Pratt as he looked out onto the field. He said it isn't just special for the players. "There's gonna be 600 band members. There's gonna be 50 cheerleaders. There's gonna be 12 to 15 broadcast journalism kids, and that doesn't include the spirit groups and student council. All those kids are here and participating and I think that's what makes Friday night lights special. It truly is a community event."
The first game is McKinney versus McKinney North on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.