The district's second proposed high school stadium is part of its four-proposition bond package, totaling $2.8 billion.
PROSPER, Texas — Editor's note: The video published above is a WFAA report from August on the growth of Prosper ISD.
There's no doubt: Texas loves its football. So, on the surface, a bond election including a $94 million price tag for a second high school stadium isn't entirely shocking to read, given the culture of the Lone Star State.
Yes, the price tag would make it the "most expensive in Texas history." That's true. But according to district spokesperson Rachel Trotter, there is much more to the story than "building a new football stadium." Trotter told WFAA over the phone this is not just a football stadium, but rather "the district's largest classroom."
Trotter noted there is numerous other benefits to the stadium and uses of it:
And the price needs context, too, Trotter said.
The $94 million tag is a projection of the price to build the stadium, accounting for inflation and construction costs at the time the project would start, which Trotter estimated to be 15% and 30% increases relative to the price in 2023, respectively. The stadium, if approved, wouldn't start construction for another three to five years and is planned to be located at the district's fourth high school, which is set to open in 2025. Trotter said both inflation and construction costs have gone up post-pandemic.
Prosper ISD is the fastest growing school district in North Texas, which brings up another important contextual point.
Trotter told WFAA that in 2002, the district had less than 1,000 students and only three campuses. Ten years later, those metrics grew to 5,500 students and seven buildings. By 2022, Prosper ISD housed 25,000 students and 21 campuses. The district added another 3,000-plus students, totaling 28,200 students, and four more schools in 2023. By 2025, Prosper ISD will open two more middle schools (Daniel L. Jones Middle School and Moseley Middle School), its 18th elementary school (Betty Jackson Elementary School) and the fourth high school (Richland High School).
Prosper's population has grown from 3,000 in 2002 to just under 38,000 in 2023. With the population growth, a majority of the new infrastructure, according to Trotter, has been residential. And thus, the district's schools and stadiums have served as venues needed to host community events throughout the year.
The growth is also prevalent in another piece of the district's four-proposition, $2.8 billion bond package. Proposition A, if approved, would add six new elementary schools, a second Early Childhood School, two more middle schools, a fifth high school, complete Richland High School and make upgrades to 12 of the pre-existing campuses (eight elementary schools and four middle schools).
The district opened its first high school stadium, 12,000-seat Children's Health Stadium, in 2019 after it was passed with 85% bond approval, Trotter said.
With a second high school stadium, all of the district's high schools would rotate playing at both, rather than having a designated "home field" for certain schools, according to Trotter.
Prop A – $2,439,575,000
Prop B – $140,000,000
Prop C – $102,425,000
Prop D – $125,000,000
Due to new legislative requirements on all ballot propositions, voters will see this language: “This is a property tax increase.” The district, on its website, said the bond propositions will not lead to a new tax increase because it is already at maximum level for outstanding debt. The website continues to say the bonds will not be paid by most taxpayers because their cost is covered by growth of increased taxable income from new construction, an expanded commercial tax base, new homes and growth on existing property.
At $94 million, the proposed high school stadium in Prosper would be the most expensive in the state. Here are how the price tags ranked as of this writing. It is important to note these were the prices when each respective stadium was built. To Trotter's point, inflation and construction costs have risen since these stadiums were built.
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