McAllen Stadium renovations undecided

NEWSCENTER 23
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POSTED: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 5:42pm

UPDATED: Friday, December 13, 2013 - 11:32am

McAllen's Veterans Memorial Stadium is awaiting a renovation. 

How much of a renovation, is still up in the air. 

Both McAllen ISD and the city of McAllen approved a total of $5 million to improve the stadium. 

But according the Monitor, the school district revealed stadium plans that cost $16 million; more than triple the original estimate. 

"It didn't start out as five [million], grow to 16 [million]," McAllen Superintendent Dr. James Ponce said. "We've always known that when you think the big picture, when you look at all the other stadiums the cost to refurbish, it's not a figure that's necessarily outstanding." 

The original plan was for the renovation to entice the return of the Palm Bowl to McAllen. 

Upgrades to the press box, bathrooms and up-to-code disability access were called for. 

After the NCAA rejected McAllen's bid, the plans changed. 

"Whatever we said to bring an NCAA team plus the code, plus some kind of wow factor," Ponce said. "Now the detail, we haven't sat down with anyone and said here's what all the $5 million is going to get.  We're still in that phase."

Both the district and the city will meet tomorrow to discuss the intricacies of the $5 million plan.

Today's lunch was to answer questions from the audience; who were concerned with a $16 million price tag for stadium refurbishment. 

Officials say an improved stadium can play host to concerts and the like to make money.  

So that next, more costly phase, is still a possibility. 

"It all depends on how things go with the first phase of the project," City Commissioner Trey Pebley said. "It also depends on how we can bring in venues."

 

The $5 million portion of the improvements is expected to begin this spring and complete by the start of football season.  

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