After 17 months of anticipation, McKinney ISD and the city of McKinney will unveil the city’s new $70 million crown jewel Thursday night when MISD Stadium officially opens.

The stadium garnered so much buzz during its construction phase, people across the country, from former President George W. Bush to Shaquille O’Neal, have been interested in its completion.

Despite having to address concerns related to concrete on the home and visitor concourses with greater-than-anticipated cracking this summer, MISD officials are excited to see the fruits of their labor come to fruition this week.

“It’s been a long road to get us to this point, obviously a lot of people deserve a lot of credit for helping us get to our opening day,” said Rick McDaniel, MISD superintendent. “I want to send a specific shoutout to our city, city manager, mayor and all of their staffs for helping us get all the permits that we have needed to get to this point. Also, I’d like to send out a special thanks to all the people of McKinney ISD who came out and supported the bond in 2016 and made this all possible."

“We believe we are delivering a first-class facility that will last for 50-plus years and I’m so excited to have as many people as possible show up this Thursday and Friday night.”

The grand opening of the newly minted stadium kicks off with the inaugural McKinney Football Classic to officially begin the high school football season.

The showcase event begins at 7 p.m. Thursday when McKinney renews its crosstown rivalry with McKinney North in the first-ever game played at the stadium. This will be the first time the two original schools in McKinney play each other since North destroyed McKinney, 52-29, in 2015.

Boyd will play its inaugural game at the stadium against Rowlett at 7 p.m. Friday, and Prosper will take on Garland Naaman Forest in the final game at 11 a.m. Saturday. Thanks to the new stadium being a state-of-the-art gem and one of the most updated stadiums in the country, the school district believes events like the McKinney Football Classic will be the standard not the exception going forward.

“We don’t have to sell out every game or every event, but it opens it up for large playoff games, concerts and larger community events going forward,” said Shawn Pratt, MISD athletic director. “There’s no doubt when we are out there watching kids do their thing and our objective is complete, and the kids are enjoying the fruits of the labor, emotions will be flowing. That will be the beginning of an emotional night for not just myself but a lot of others who put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make this a reality.”

The state-of-the-art, 12,000-seat stadium includes the largest true HD video board in a Texas high school stadium, four locker rooms, 2,400 parking spaces and an 8,000-square-foot Community Events Center. The CEC will accommodate up to 500 people in a banquet-style arrangement and up to 800 in a lecture-style arrangement.

Once MISD gets things rolling, citizens can pay to host private events at the CEC with a splendid view of the stadium in the background.

"It has been a long project and it wouldn't have happened without the hard work of a lot of people. Jason Bird, our chief financial officer, and Greg Suttle, our executive director of facilities, and their staffs have worked tirelessly to make it happen,” Pratt said. “McKinney is a great place and a great town, and even as we have grown we have managed to keep that small-town feel. It makes me proud to get calls from people from everywhere who are impressed with our first-class facilities and it just shows what a source of pride the stadium is going to be for MISD and our community, and I’m very proud to be associated with both.”

For continued coverage of the local sports scene, follow Kendrick E. Johnson on Twitter @kendrickjohnso 


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