Frisco council OKs $115M Dallas Cowboys practice facility

OXNARD, Calif. -- The Dallas Cowboys are near a deal that would end a four-decade affiliation with Irving and move the team's practice facility to another Dallas suburb.

The Frisco City Council on Monday approved a $115 million agreement to build a complex that will include an indoor stadium and new headquarters for the Cowboys in the city 30 miles north of Dallas.

The city's school district is contributing $30 million, and its high schools will play games in the stadium. The Cowboys aren't contributing any money up front but will have to pay any extra costs. The team also has agreed to develop the remaining land on the 91-acre tract.

Frisco officials want to have the facility ready for the 2016 season.

The Cowboys were entirely a Dallas operation until 1971, when Texas Stadium in Irving opened. They played their first 11 seasons at the Cotton Bowl and had a training facility in Dallas.

Irving added the Valley Ranch headquarters in 1985, but the facility is showing its age as other NFL teams have been building fancier training homes.

"It sounds great," said tight end Jason Witten, the franchise leader in receptions. "I think as players you don't really have any control over that. It's a new facility, and you always appreciate everything about this organization is first-class. I'm sure that won't be any different."

In 2009, the Cowboys left Texas Stadium for the $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium (now called AT&T Stadium) in Arlington, a modern marvel with a retractable roof, a huge video screen hanging over the field and more than 300 luxury suites.

The move to Frisco, home to FC Dallas of the MLS, also could have implications for Oxnard, Calif., and any other potential training camp homes for the Cowboys. The indoor field gives the Cowboys the flexibility of holding summer workouts out of the heat without having to bus to their home stadium.

The area also has the infrastructure in place for thousands of fans to attend, with plenty of parking a short shuttle ride from the fields. The parking facilities are part of the baseball stadium that's home to the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers and the arena complex where the NHL's Dallas Stars train.

But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said he likes the mild climate in Oxnard and calls training in California part of the team's legacy. Dallas has held camp off and on in California for 50 years.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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