K.J. Pilcher, CR Gazette -
Prep football in Iowa is special.
It is special to players who will reminisce decades later about accomplishments, specific wins and losses and even brag about certain plays.
It is special to the communities, which generally shut down for Friday night to attend the contest, including when it calls for 90 minutes of travel.
What is an appropriate dollar amount that can be assigned to how special football is to Iowa and its high schools? Well, whatever it is it will likely be a couple zeroes short of counterparts in Texas.
From schools that brought you the likes of “Friday Night Lights” and “Varsity Blues,” here is the Allen (Texas) High School new $60 million, 18,000-seat stadium. Click here to see it.
According to colleague Jeff Linder, the UNI-Dome seats around 17,000 and it’s cost in 1970′s when it was built was $7.5 million. That would be the facility for a top-tier Football Championship Subdivision program in a top FCS conference (Missouri Valley Football Conference).
Linn-Mar’s new football stadium unveiled last season was about a $10 million project. It’s a magnificent venue that LMCSD should be proud of building. The Cedar Rapids Community School District and Marion Independent School District could create one like it for Marion, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Jefferson and Cedar Washington to go along with Linn-Mar’s and still have money left for another with the money raised for the stadium in Allen, Texas.
Allen’s population was more than 84,000 in 2010, and the one-high school town has 5,388 students from grades 9-12. Sounds like they could use a second high school. Wonder if they opened a second high school if they would share the stadium or cough up another $60 million for another stadium. I’ll start the campaign, I have $2.63 in my pocket.
The story goes on to point out that Allen isn’t necessarily an agricultural community or a Metro area still trying to rebound from a massive flood a little more than four years ago. The median household income in 2009 was more than $108,000. I believe the median household income in Iowa might be in the low $40,000′s. They have money in the community.
Is it right or wrong to use those resources for a football stadium? It’s their money. They can do with it as they please.
Prep football in Iowa is special, but it is a whole different beast in Texas.