Houston Area School District Taking 100-Year-Old Family Property for Stadium Parking

August 15, 2023

Aldine Independent School District is pursuing eminent domain actions to add parking for its new $50 million football stadium set to open August 2024. The school district, located outside Houston, wants to acquire a 1-acre private property near the stadium that has been owned by Travis Upchurch for 46 years and has been in his family for over a century.

Aldine ISD is replacing the original Thorpe Stadium built in 1979 with a state-of-the-art stadium that is expected to hold 10,000 people. The stadium broke ground in January, but Upchurch hopes to sway the opinion of the school board while the parking lot is still in the design phase.

Upchurch denied an offer from the district in 2022, which led the school board to approve taking the property through eminent domain earlier this spring. He hopes to reach a settlement with the school district that will allow him to stay in his family home for the remainder of his life.

Rendering of the new stadium and surrounding parking courtesy of Aldine Independent School District

Eminent Domain Common Tool for School Takings

It is not unheard of for a school district to utilize the power of eminent domain. The government  can use eminent domain for universities, schools, and other infrastructure that serves the public. Defining the needs to meet public demand can be one of the factors evaluated during condemnation proceedings.

If Upchurch denies Aldine ISD’s final offer, the school board can choose to file a petition in condemnation and after a determination of fair compensation Aldine ISD can permanently take Upchurch’s property.

If a local school or university has approached you about acquiring your land, contact the experienced eminent domain and condemnation attorneys at Barron, Adler, Clough & Oddo, PLLC to understand your rights and what the next steps should be.