Temporary bleachers will be raised at Dickson Street stadium, allowing the Wellington Dukes to play home football games this year.
But now they won’t be in place for the school’s first home game on Sept. 9, it was learned Tuesday in an emergency meeting of the board of education — the third session held in the past week.
Because of a misunderstanding regarding assembly and capacity, the temporary seating won’t be installed until the week of Sept. 14, the board said.
To compensate, the district will pay $3,000 to Bleachers on Demand of Marblehead to rent seating that holds about 800 fans for the home opener.
The board had thought Sightlines Inc., the Kentucky-based company supplying $34,000 temporary bleachers, planned to have them installed by Sept. 9. However, that date is only when the bleachers will be delivered and they will not be pre-assembled. That project was approved at a separate special meeting last Friday.
Sightlines said it will charge the Wellington Schools an additional $9,700 to assemble the bleachers. It also offered to supervise another contractor handling the job at no cost to the district.
Board members mistakenly believed the seats would come in three sections that each held 432 fans. In reality, the three sections seat 432 total fans.
That would put total capacity of the Dukes’ stadium at 732 this season including the visitor’s bleachers, which is above the stadium’s average turnout of 700 fans in 2015.
Wellington Builders was hired Friday to lay a 14,000-square-foot foundation at a cost of $49,000. The company is also being considered to assemble the temporary bleachers if its bid is less than what Sightlines proposed.
“It was a misunderstanding among us,” said board member Kevin Stump. “The cost of the 432 seats does make sense in relation to what we’ve been quoted for 1,000-seat permanent bleachers.”
Two other options were presented at Tuesday’s meeting: pay Bleachers On Demand $19,000 to rent for the entire season, or play home games at Oberlin College for $1,740 per contest. The college offered to let Wellington keep gate receipts and set up its own concessions.
“At the end of the season we’d have nothing to show for $19,000,” said board member Daniel Rosecrans. “Other than the fact we’d have seating, that’s not good.”
Acting superintendent Greg Ring said this latest hurdle boils down to miscommunication.
“We were told the seats would be delivered on Sept. 9, but weren’t told it wouldn’t be assembled,” he said. “It sounds like we will have everything in place for the second home game. It’s a temporary solution to get through this year.”
Sightlines is still in the running to supply the permanent bleachers.
The company presented a 1,000-seat aluminum bleacher plan at the district’s Aug. 16 meeting. Those would cost $210,000 to $230,000 depending on whether angle frame or I-beam architecture is chosen. Angle frame is less costly, but better suited for hillsides and uneven terrain. I-beam is best for level sites like Wellington’s and can be attached to concrete or directly to the ground with anchors.
Bleachers were set to be donated by the North Olmsted school district over the summer but plans fell through when lead paint was discovered on Wellington’s bleacher support structure.
Once insurance costs were factored in to remove the paint, it didn’t make financial sense to do so.
Stump said the temporary bleachers could be put to other use after the permanent ones arrive in areas like the end zones in the stadium, Wellington Community Park or the WHS baseball field.
Rosecrans said the end zone bleachers should be replaced as soon as possible.
“I’m surprised they’re still in use,” he said. “They’re in a state of disrepair.”
Press box options were mulled over briefly Tuesday. Rosecrans said one option could be constructing one for the year on top of a construction trailer.
No date has been set for a resolution on the permanent seating, but Ring advised the board to do so before Dec. 1.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise The Wellington Schools will rent $3,000 bleachers for WHS’s first home football game on Sept. 9. The school board misunderstood seating capacity and delivery specifics with Sightlines Inc., the company supplying $34,000 temporary bleachers for the remainder of the 2016 season. The board thought those seats held 1,300 fans, but they actually seat 432.
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