Out with the old, in with the new, says the Wellington school board.
Instead of refurbishing its existing bleacher support structure at Wellington High School’s football stadium, the board approved its demolition, along with the visitor’s locker room underneath, at a special meeting on Aug. 4.
Herk Excavating Inc. of Vermilion was hired to rip down the stadium for $15,000.
Lead paint found on the existing support structure ruined plans to refurbish it for $85,000 and install donated bleachers from the North Olmsted school district.
The cost for the new bleachers, press box, and support structure will be approximately $150,000, said schools treasurer Tina Gabler.
Separate plans to replace the visitor’s locker room are still being put together. Initial talks have been had to expand the home locker room to make room for visiting teams but nothing has been decided on yet, she said.
Board of education member Kevin Stump said many visiting teams have refused to use the visitor’s locker room, citing the poor condition of the interior.
Seating capacity will most likely drop from what the old bleachers could hold, as they were constructed before bleachers were installed on the visitors sideline, the board said. While the old structure held roughly 2,500 spectators, the new ones will seat 1,000 to 1,500. Quotes are currently being sought and the total cost of the project could go up or down depending on what size bleachers are chosen.
Gabler has put a call in to Oberlin College asking what it would cost to rent its football field since construction will certainly overlap with the Dukes’ home opener Aug. 23.
Oberlin College opened the Austin E. Knowlton Athletic Complex in 2014. The facility was made possible by an $8 million gift from the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation, which supports colleges and universities in the Midwest. It hosts football, field hockey, and lacrosse games.
The other option would be to rent bleachers, which the district is also looking into. To avoid lost revenue and boost morale in the community, Gabler considers renting bleachers to be the best option.
She said acting superintendent Greg Ring and incoming interim superintendent Tom Tucker could both end up playing a part in the decision-making process.
“We have made contact with bleacher rental companies and we’re waiting to hear back,” she said. “My personal opinion is that it would be in our best interest to have the football games here at home. Oberlin College has said they’d work with us as far as revenue from gate receipts but I think it’s best for Wellington to keep the games here at home.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise Wellington Schools treasurer Tina Gabler and board member Ayers Ratliff weight the merits of different seating options for upcoming Dukes home football games.