Legacy Stadium unveiled in Katy

16 August 2017

In a few short days, visitors will finally be able to check out the Katy ISD's new $72.1 million Legacy Stadium.

"It's ready to go. They're just working on the finishing touches," said Katy ISD spokeswoman Maria DiPetta.

A dedication ceremony has been scheduled for Aug. 17. Public tours of the 12,000-seat football venue will follow. "We're really excited. It's going to be open to the community," she said.

She said the "last-minute finishing touches" are tasks like placing signs around the facility, landscaping and ensuring the press box is wired for computers.

"The little minor stuff," DiPetta added. "It's still on schedule to be completed."

The name, Legacy Stadium, reflects the suburban district's history and highlights Katy ISD's vision statement: "Be the legacy," officials said.

The school board decided to name the field itself after former Katy High School football coach Mike Johnston, who led the Tigers to five state championships, three of which were victories, over 22 years. In December, the board signed a deal with Academy Sports & Outdoors, the sporting goods giant based in Katy, for the naming rights to the entire complex, which also includes the adjacent Jack Rhodes Memorial Stadium. Katy ISD and the corporation agreed on a 10-year sponsorship contract worth $2.5 million.

Legacy Stadium will open almost three years after Katy voters approved a $58 million price tag for the venue as part of a $748 million bond referendum. The year before, voters had rejected a package that included $69 million for a 16,000-seat stadium. Since then, infrastructure costs that were not part of the original financial package - such as improvements to roads around the stadium complex and a video replay board - have pushed the cost up to about $72.1 million.

Over the years, the debate has been heated for what will be the most expensive high school stadium in Texas. The 18,000-seat Eagle Stadium cost the Allen ISD about $60 million, while a 12,000-seat high school football venue in the neighboring Dallas-area McKinney ISD is costing about $70 million. She said Legacy Stadium is expected to bring in more than $500,000 in revenue to the district each year.

She acknowledged that the project has been controversial in the past. "It's going to be part of the district," she said. "People are becoming more accepting."