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Decision Time On Stadium Repairs

By: Stanley Jefferson, Todd Baucher Email
By: Stanley Jefferson, Todd Baucher Email

Update 2/19/13 11 p.m.

The Parkersburg High School stadium committee appeared before the Wood County Board of Education Tuesday evening and presented their three major options for repair of the Big Reds Stadium.

In the hour long meeting, representatives of the Stadium Committee outlined the concerns of the group and their desire to see Fall Sports start in the stadium on time.

The Board of Education listened and clarified the risks of each option, saying they would like time to discuss the options.

The board will place the topic on next meeting's agenda, and they green-lighted the committee's efforts to research the options and prepare to ask for bids as soon as possible.

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Update 2/18/13 10 p.m.

The Parkersburg High School stadium committee met Monday evening to consider several options on how to refurbish the Big Red Stadium.

After almost two hours of presentation and discussion on how to proceed, the group has decided to present the options identified to the Wood County Board of Education Tuesday evening at a special meeting and ask for their financial support.

The group identified six options including a massive reconstruction, installation of aluminum bleachers, and limited stadium bleacher construction. Another set of options is to proceed with only the home team seating for the first year, and raise funds towards completion of the stadium the following year.

All options, if funded immediately, could be completed by this year's fall football season.

No formal vote was taken on which option to support. All were to be presented to the BOE Tuesday evening and discussed.
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Updated 2/18/2013 6:20 P.M.

The project engineer for the bleacher repair project at Parkersburg High School has given the stadium committee two estimates: a short-term repair at $914,000 and a long-term repair for two and a half million.

The committee's treasurer says that, as of Monday afternoon, most members were leaning toward the short-term solution.

"I think it will be hard to raise $900,000, let alone earn $2.5 million," said committee treasurer Charlotte Potter. "I would think the short term would be the best right now."

Short-term, as Potter explains, doesn't mean a "band aid" approach. It's a repair that would last 20 years and would be guaranteed for five. Long enough, the committee hopes, to find a funding solution that would last a lot longer,regardless of which option the committee goes for.

As in past efforts, it will take a lot of fund-raising to pay for it. the group plans to solicit alumni, corporate donors and students, as well as a door to door effort.

"It took all of the athletic students at PHS to go out and canvass," Potter said about fund-raising for the stadium turf in the 1990's. "So it's going to take us all to work on it."

Past renovations have involved both fund-raising and bank loans. Potter says, however, that the tighter credit of recent years may make getting the latter more difficult.

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Updated 11/30/2012 3:30 P.M.

Wood County Schools is beginning the process of renovating the Parkersburg High School bleachers.

The school system will have to seek bids for the project.

So far, it's heard from potential contractors, but the process is just beginning.

While the problems with the bleachers is getting the most publicity, that's just one of the system's current needs.

"The expression of interest we are seeking will also serve all of the needs in Wood County, whether it's Williamstown, or Lubeck," says Superintendent Dr. Patrick Law. "It's a county-wide need we have. But, obviously, our number one priority right now, obviously, is Stadium Field."

School administrators are also considering whether to repair or replace Williamstown Elementary School. If it is replaced, Williamstown Elementary would be the first new school building in Wood County in 30 years.

Dr. Law expects bids on the bleachers to be accepted until just before Christmas.

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A familiar stadium that fans help fill up throughout the years will remain empty.

Wood County Schools Superintendent Doctor Patrick Law says that Stadium Field at Parkersburg High School is closing because the bleachers need repairing.

"Our first step will be to put out a request for a proposal for an architect firm to come in and really begin the process of creating a design, creating a plan for demolition."

Built in the 1920's, Stadium Field hosts several events like Big Reds and Crusaders Football.

And PHS Athletic Director, Lori Lowers says that she along with the Board of Education are finding a solution to the problem.

"We just want them to know that we are working closely with the Board of Education. We're moving quickly as we can to get things in motion, hoping to resolve this issue as quickly as possible."

The district first learned of the problem near the end of the football season.

The school's insurance company discovered cracked concrete and rusted support beams.

Dr. Law says there's not a budget in place but he is working to get immediate help.

"So we have to look at what's possible, we're going to have to depend a lot on our booster groups which we've done in other occasions when we got a major athletic facility need."

Arrangements will be made for spring sports teams that call Field Stadium home.

"I would say that there is a very good chance that they're not going to be available this spring and so what we begin to make changes and looking at how we may be to reschedule some events there," says Dr. Law.

No word on when the stadium will re-open and if it will be available for the fall sports next year.


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