McKinney's new $70 million football stadium opens

After years of planning and a few months of concern, the McKinney Independent School District’s $70 million high school football stadium opened with a cross-town rivalry.

It was a big win Thursday night for the McKinney North Bulldogs. They beat the McKinney Lions 31-13. But for fans and athletes, it was not just about the game. It was about the experience in the impressive new stadium.

The facility sits on a 50-acre lot and seats 12,000 people. That’s hard to believe since back in 1990 the population in McKinney was 20,000.

The new stadium was approved by voters in 2016 and came with a hefty price tag of $70 million, making it one of the most expensive high school stadiums in the country.

It offers a lot of amenities including a synthetic turf field, locker rooms and a state-of-the-art announcer’s booth.

There were concerns the opening might be delayed after cracks were discovered earlier this year. But it was determined that the cracks did not pose a safety issue.

Thousands of fans came out Thursday night to celebrate the inaugural game. High schools in the district have been winning games since 1984 but now a lot more people have the McKinney town feel.

“It’s kind of just cool to see that our community really cares about our school district,” said Eric Boatman, a McKinney band member.

“Oh, it is so awesome. We needed this so much. This is like, so perfect, can’t even put it into words,” added Riley Risner, a senior at McKinney North.

The stadium is home to all three of McKinney’s high schools. The second of many game to be played there is set for Friday night.