Pair of architects chosen to design Katy ISD's second stadium

Katy ISD officials have approved the selection of a pair of architects—HKS and VLK Architects—to design the district's second football stadium from the ground up following the withdrawal last month of the project's original planner.

Dallas-based HKS and VLK Architects, based out of Fort Worth, will lead the new planning and construction of the $58 million stadium OK'd by voters Nov. 4 as part of a $748 million bond package. The school district's search for a new architect began following a Nov. 13 notice by original project lead PBK Architects that it was pulling out of the stadium endeavor, KISD officials said.

District officials did not say why PBK withdrew from the project, and calls to PBK seeking comment were not returned.

PBK made the initial design of the stadium that was part of a $99 million bond that failed in 2013. Those plans called for a 14,000-seat, $69.5 million stadium, field house and parking lot. The bond passed in November called for a scaled-down version of the original plans.

Before the bond election, district officials said there was no new design for the less-expensive stadium project. They said the plans would only need to be adjusted, and there should not be any additional design costs to do so.

However, with HKS and VLK taking over the project, KISD officials confirmed the stadium will get a new design that will follow the guidelines of what was outlined for the facility by the bond—a 12,00-seat stadium with a press box, restrooms and concessions; a 12,000-square-foot field house; and 4,000 parking spaces.

PBK has a long relationship with KISD and still is in good standing with the school district, officials said. PBK worked on the Merrell Center and built four KISD high schools, five junior high schools and an elementary school, among other district projects. PBK also designed the new joint campus for the district's eighth high school and 15th junior high school as part of the $748 million bond.

Peter McElwain, KISD's architect and planner, said the district reached out to eight architect firms to work on the stadium project. Two firms withdrew from the process, and two pairs of firms decided to team up, creating four finalists. Following interviews with the groups, school officials toured six stadiums, one built by each of the six firms.

KISD representatives toured the University of North Texas' Apogee Stadium in Denton, designed by HKS, and Denton ISD's C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, designed by VLK, in addition to four other facilities before making the final recommendation to trustees, McElwain said.

Despite new architects taking over the stadium project, McElwain said he is confident construction will finish up to six months ahead of the original projection of June or July 2017.



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