New bleachers are one small step closer to becoming a reality.
An evaluation of the Dukes football stadium will be carried out by TDA Architecture of Willoughby, which was hired for $5,000 Monday by the Wellington board of education.
The company will advise the district on what to do with its bleachers, football field, track, lighting, and other buildings on the property, such as the ticket booth, concession stand, picnic pavilion, and locker room.
Recommendations are expected in about a week, the board said.
The Poggemeyer Design Group will also conduct a survey of the land, which schools treasurer Tina Gabler said hasn’t been done in a long time.
A bid to construct new bleachers is expected to be chosen after the site plan is finalized, which will decide whether the district goes with an “I-beam” design, which costs around $325,000 with a 70-year lifespan, or an “angle frame” model that costs $255,000 and lasts 50 years.
“We might lose that space under the bleachers with angle frame, but we have plenty of surrounding room,” Wellingotn High School athletic director John Bowman told the board. “Brookside uses an angle frame and they seem to still have plenty of space.”
Discussion at Monday’s meeting also centered on replacing the Dukes track and how that decision could affect the installation of bleachers as well as possibly moving WHS soccer games to the football field.
The existing track, which has been deemed unusable for meets, runs six lanes but could be extended to eight. Extending it would make it easier for Wellington to host Patriot Athletic Conference meets, but also force the football field to be moved, which would complicate and possibly extend the timetable for new seating being put in.
According to Bowman, Oberlin and Columbia are the only other PAC schools without a functional track. Clearview uses a six-lane one while all other members of the conference use eight lanes.
Consensus at the meeting seemed to be sticking with six lanes.
School board member Ayers Ratliff said the cost of a new six-lane track falls between $150,000 and $180,000.
“Once you factor in the cost of moving the field, eight lanes just isn’t worth it,” said Bowman. “We can still hold conference meets on six lanes, but it just might take more time.”
Bowman added that moving soccer games to the football field could be too much for the grass to handle and school fields that do so are usually reduced to a “mud pit” by late in the season.
“If the choice is choosing between soccer and track at the stadium, I choose track,” said school board member Daniel Rosecrans.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.