Daily Mail sportswriter
Monday April 09, 2007
New bleachers are on the way for five
It's just that some will have to wait longer than others.
A $44 million school bond levy passed in 2003 allocated funds for the
replacement of bleachers at Herbert Hoover, Sissonville, Nitro, St. Albans,
George Washington and
Chuck Wilson, the facilities director at the Kanawha County Board of Education, said the project will cost $6.6 million to include "soft costs," like reviews by regulatory agencies and testing.
The replacement was expected to begin sooner. However, after coming in $2.9 million over budget, the process was pushed back when the county had to reopen the bidding.
"We expected to be over budget, but not that much,"
One company wasn't bonded and others didn't receive some of the modifications in the bidding documents.
"The scope was increased on the project to add more seating to meet
SSAC standards and there has been a tremendous increase in the price of
Some school officials are concerned with having to play home games on the road in August or September. The football season opens Aug. 20.
That means schools could lose money on concessions and the gate, in addition to being forced to pay more for team transportation to an alternate playing site.
However, the bleachers could be replaced at the six locations by the end of August.
A vote on bids to demolish the current bleachers is scheduled during an April 19 board meeting, three days after the bids open for the replacement of the bleachers. The approval of that bid must be put on the agenda for a later meeting.
"I don't want to tear down bleachers if new ones aren't coming," said Wilson, who indicated that enough should be known about the replacement bids to approve one for the demolition on April 19. "It's not a huge job. Community members will ask, ‘Where are the bleachers?' There will be a lag time and I expect we'll get a lot of calls during that time."
He said the replacement is expected to begin in July with two schools being
completed per month. That would leave George Washington -- which plays all but
one of its home games at
"There's a very good chance they could get them all up by the end of
The plan was to install an average of 4,000 seats at the six fields, including South Charleston High's soccer field at the school.
It does not include Oakes Field, where the Black Eagles play home football games.
The SSAC requires seating for 4,000 if a stadium is to qualify for Class AAA playoff games.
"We've asked for all the teams to submit their schedules so that the
folks here can evaluate them and if there are opportunities, we'll look at
South Charleston Principal Bill Walton said Oakes Field will be available for schools on Saturdays if they are unable to play home games. The Black Eagles play home games on Friday nights.
St. Albans Assistant Principal Dick Campbell said he's confident the issue will be worked out.
"The fact is, most of our bleachers are dangerous and need to be
"We had a structural engineering firm look into them and found that
only Laidley and