Katy ISD unveils new mega-stadium

By Sophia Beausoleil - Reporter

KATY -

Thursday was a big day for Katy Independent School District and the entire Katy community, as the new mega-stadium was unveiled.

Football players, band members, cheerleaders, drill teams, color guards and mascots from all eight high schools, including the new Patricia Paetow High School, performed at the dedication ceremony for Mike Johnston Field at Legacy Stadium.

“It feels amazing , going from Rhodes to here is a big difference,” said Brant Kyathe, a senior football player at Cinco Ranch High School.

He and his teammates sat amongst their rivals in on a historical moment for the district.

School board members, lawmakers and they mayor of Katy along with the man of the hour, former Katy High School Coach Mike Johnston all took part in the dedication of the new sports complex.

"I hope when you use this term legacy of excellence, I hope it has a deep meaning to you,” said Johnston, whom the field is named after.

Coach Johnston was the head coach at Katy High School form 1982 to 2003 and had 13 district tiles, five state title appearances and three state championships within seven years under his belt.

'I hope every time you set foot in this facility it's an inspiration,” said Johnston to the crow. “To me  this facility is a testament to the great players and performers who have come before you  and I expect when I watch you perform  to do  better than ever."

The first game at Legacy Stadium will be Aug. 31  when Taylor plays Foster High School.  Katy High School will play under the Friday night lights on Sept. 1 in a game against Westlake High School out of Austin.

“We're just excited and looking forward to getting that first game in here,” said KISD Superintendent Dr. Lance Hindt.

The $70 million stadium has made national news because of its price tag.  In 2014 voters approved a bond project, about 30,000 in favor and 24,000 against, to build Legacy Stadium.

The original cost was set at $58 million in 2016,  but jumped to $70 million because of construction costs according to the district.   They added space to the field house which can house staff development meetings, district functions and outside KISD Events.

“It was one way or the other , but I think we’re all happy that it’s come together the way it has  and I’m certainly proud to be a part of it,” said Dugan Kussmann, Taylor High School Band Booster club President, whose daughter is in the band.

“I think the important thing to remember is I think it’s worth our tax dollars , it’s not just a football stadium it’s an outdoor classroom, it represents every single student that has anything to do with the field right now,” said Kussmann.

Even though over the years there was debate about the field’s cost, other parents at the dedication echoed Kussmann.

“It’s going to be a landmark for Katy,” said Marita Condinato, whose daughter is in the Katy High School band.  “I think it’s a good investment for  Katy families.”

The school district said the stadium will serve more than 77,000 students and community members across the city.

KISD said the stadium will host not only sports, but fine arts, extracurricular activities along with non-Katy ISD events.

“If you go upstairs [the field house] we utilize it with staff for staff development,” explained Hindt. “We got 10,000 employees and growing in this district and with the growth of the student population we needed additional space so we can do our teacher training etc.”

The Field House Assembly Room is 6,500 sq. ft. and can divide into three rooms. The district said those rooms are available to rent out during games for $1,500 and the money will go towards the district’s general fund.

“It's a multi-use facility , we're going to use it for all kinds of things,” said Hindt.
“Sure, at one point or another it may be a revenue growth for the school district, but I can tell you this, folks are lining up right now  to rent some of the space that we have so they can host individuals on game nights, so they can watch the football players, the soccer teams and watch our drill teams, and bands.”

Many have referred to Legacy Stadium as an outdoor classroom because of the Live Action Media Broadcast System (L.A.M.B.S.) inside the stadium.

Katy ISD Career and Technical Education students will get hands on experience with the video board, instant replay, commercials graphics and running the stadium cameras.

Other high priced stadiums

There are a few more stadiums in Texas that have some high price tags.

One in McKinney cost $63 million to build, and one in Allen was $60 million.

At $70 million, Katy's Legacy Stadium is the most expensive stadium in the country.

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