McKinney Stadium: Does Past Attendance Justify a 12,000-Seat Stadium?
Administrators and board members at McKinney Independent School District (McKinney ISD) cite game attendance and costs for temporary seating, as driving factors for building a 12,000-seat $60 million stadium. Attendance figures, obtained from the district, however, do not back up these assertions.
In 2013, former MISD Chief Financial Officer Edd Bigbee, warned that seating “continues to be an issue”, remarking the district was forced to spend $20,644 in 2012 to lease bleachers for home games with Allen and the cross-town game between McKinney Boyd and McKinney High.
Last year, district officials told the Dallas Morning News, “Two popular McKinney games in 2014 each drew at least 9,000 people to Ron Poe Stadium, spending about $20,000 in temporary seating rentals”, an expensive, that McKinney ISD School Board President Amy Dankel complained was “just throwing money away”. Dankel added “it just takes so long to get to our current stadium with all of the construction, and there’s hardly any parking”. “We’ve just outgrown it.”
Last August, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to McKinney ISD and neighboring districts, requesting “attendance figures for the home football games for years (2014-2015, 2013-2014 and 2012-2013).”
While all of other districts quickly complied, McKinney ISD demanded $202.50 for “Labor cost for approximately 13.5 hours @$15/hr for compiling information.costs of materials, labor, and overhead”. Even after the request was narrowed to just the 2013-2014 season, MISD still demanded $180 with 11 hours for labor.
After the 2015 season, McKinney ISD finally relented and supplied me with attendance figures, without demanding payment.
The following are the 2014 and 2015 paid attendance figures for the Average and Maximum for Allen, Plano, Wylie, Frisco, McKinney and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD’s. Unpaid attendance ranges between 1,000 to 1,500, with free attendance for district employees.
MISD reported, in 2014, the highest attendance was the McKinney Boyd – Allen that attracted 7,000 and in 2015, the largest total turnout was 4,810.
The facts speak for themselves. Having several high schools, a huge stadium or even a winning football record, does not lead to high attendance. Frisco Lone Star went to the State Championship and still had low attendance.
Even though the district spent nearly $10 million in renovations, for Ron Poe Stadium, we do need to fix the parking and other issues, that do not require $60 million.
Officials at McKinney ISD MUST focus on ACADEMIC issues.
May Bond Election
Superintendent Rick McDaniel appears to be willing to play Texas Hold ’em for the May Bond election and is going “All In” for the stadium.
He told Community Impact that “We have bond capacity of about $200 million, and we could easily stand to use all of that, (as) there are a lot of different projects, that need to be done” and the stadium would “only amount to roughly one-fourth” of the bond.
This is a clear sign that MISD is planning on lumping the stadium with the total bond. MISD is fully aware that support for the stadium is tenuous, and they do not want to take a chance and have it rejected, like McKinney voters did with the downtown parking garage.
If anyone believes that the newly formed citizen’s “Kid’s Bond Committee” will NOT operate, as anything other than a rubber stamp for MISD, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona, that I would like to offer you, at a bargain price.
More information about the proposed stadium, and other important local issues, can be found at rathpack.me.