Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

    Melissa, Texas, has a population of 19,000 and a high school football stadium that some colleges would envy. See inside the $35 million arena.

    A screen grab from WFAA drone footage of Melissa High School’s new football stadium.

    Another Texas high school has opened a swanky new football stadium that many colleges would envy.Coach Kenny Deel Stadium in Melissa, Texas, cost $35 million to build.The money came from a $400 million bond that local voters overwhelmingly approved.

    Everything is bigger in Texas, especially high-school football.

    Melissa, a small town north of Dallas, is the latest city in Texas to show how passionate it is about sports by unveiling a jaw-dropping new high-school football stadium.

    The swanky digs came with a $35 million price tag.

    The stadium would make a lot of colleges envious, with its luxury indoor suites and a training facility reminiscent of those at major universities.

    Example #2462 that high school football in Texas is different…

    Melissa High School (40 miles north of Dallas) just opened a $35 million football complex with a 10,000-seat stadium and a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility.

    The school only has 1,300 students 😳

    — Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) August 17, 2023

    The stadium is named for Kenny Deel, a former Melissa High School football coach, and has enough seating for 10,000 people.

    While that’s enough for more than half of the town’s population of 19,000, it is also future-proof. Melissa, which is 40 miles north of Dallas, is considered part of one of the fastest-growing areas in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The town had fewer than 900 residents in 1999.

    The school district published a demographic study and concluded that the number of students at all levels is expected to grow by 700 each year for the next few years, and high-school enrollment could more than double from 1,300 now to 2,700 by 2030.

    With the growing population, rising student enrollment, and the No. 1 team in the state’s 5A-D2 rankings, the town wanted something bigger than the previous stadium, which held 3,100 fans.

    There’s also a massive video scoreboard for those bigger crowds.

    A view of the Melissa High School football field’s video board, as seen in WFAA drone footage.

    Here’s an aerial view of the new indoor practice facility and outdoor practice field to show its size.

    The Melissa High School football training facility and practice field seen in drone footage obtained by WFAA.

    Fox 4 News in Waco reported that the money for the stadium came from a $400 million bond approved by local voters in 2021 by an overwhelming margin of 79.8%. Money from the bond is to help the school district meet the needs of the growing community.

    In addition to the football complex, the school district plans to build a new elementary school, a new middle school, and other improvements to the high school. The bond would also allow the construction of three to five more elementary schools if needed.

    Notably, the football stadium was not mentioned in videos or websites promoting the bond in 2021. Instead, they refer generically to the “final phase of Melissa High School.”

    Melissa is also a wealthy suburb. In 2021, the median household income of the town was $127,000, about twice the state’s median income of $67,000.

    These kinds of upscale facilities are becoming the norm in this part of the state.

    Prosper, a town just 15 miles west of Melissa, recently opened an entire high school with its own fancy sports facilities. That school even has a mall-like food court with a Sonic and a Jimmy John’s.

    Checkout the newest high school in Prosper — Walnut Grove HS

    — Texas Football Life (@txfblife) August 11, 2023

    Swanky stadiums are not new in Texas.

    In 2012, the school district in Allen, Texas, opened a $60 million football stadium for Allen High School. In this case, the money came from a $119 million bond package earmarked for new construction projects by the school district and approved by voters.

    Half of the bond was used to construct a performing arts center and new storage facilities for school buses and cafeteria food. The other half went to building the stadium. The bonds cannot be used for salaries or operating costs.

    You can see WFAA’s full drone footage of the Melissa stadium here.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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