Deadline nears for bleachers decision

June 09, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg Area School District officials will know in less than three weeks whether there will be any bids on repairing the closed bleachers of Trojan Stadium, but time is running short until the start of the next football season.

Bids on the project are due by Monday, June 27, and the board could award a contract on June 29, but Richard Bender, the district's director of buildings and grounds, said after Wednesday's Chambersburg Area School Board meeting he is worried about getting bids on the project.

"I'm very, very concerned we may not get any bidders on the project because of the short time frame of the bidding and the short time frame of installation," Bender said. The schedule calls for work to begin by July 8 and be completed by Aug. 27, but many contractors have full schedules, he said.


The bleachers were closed in March after a wooden floorboard broke. Seniors voted to have the graduation ceremony in the stadium and it was held there Tuesday night with a temporary stage and seating that Bender said cost the district about $11,000.

The bleacher project entails demolishing the home grandstand, which was determined to be structurally unsound, and replacing the wooden planking on the visitors section with aluminum seats, floorboards and risers, along with making the aisles wider, installing handrails and making other safety improvements.

Bender said the cost of a section of stands with 2,650 seats is about $190 per seat or approximately $503,000.

Wednesday night the board also authorized advertising for bids for 600 temporary bleacher seats - 300 to be placed at the end of each end zone. Bender estimated the cost at $55,000.

If no bids are received for the stadium repairs, however, the district will have to find other venues to host its home schedule this fall, Bender said.

The board also looked at the implications of having all its athletic facilities at a planned new high school. Paul Taylor of the Mechanicsburg, Pa., architectural firm Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, gave the board two options to examine, one for a stadium with artificial turf and one for a natural surface stadium and fields.

If the district chooses to go with an artificial surface for its stadium, Taylor said the high school still will need practice fields for football, soccer and field hockey, along with baseball and softball fields, six tennis courts and parking for 1,500 vehicles.

For a stadium with natural turf, the land requirements to accommodate all sports are greater, Taylor said. Varsity and junior varsity practice fields would be needed for football, soccer and field hockey, along with the baseball, softball and tennis facilities.

Considering the space needs for the school, fields, parking, setbacks, stormwater management facilities and other factors, Taylor said getting all of that into 100 acres would be a tight fit.

"The original 100 acres we were kicking around is probably pretty close to what you need at this point," Taylor said. The topography and geology of any potential site, however, will determine how much of it is usable, Taylor said.

The district's high school playing and practice fields now are spread among several schools and parks in the area.

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