A vote to spend $260,900 should put Dukes fans in new bleachers for the start of the 2017 football season.
The Wellington board of education opted Tuesday to hire Sightlines Inc. — the same Kentucky firm that provided temporary seats last August — to build stands at the Dickson Street athletic complex.
The structure will have an “angle frame” design that closes off public access to under the stands. I-beam models leaving the area open were estimated to cost as much as $470,000.
District superintendent Ed Weber said once a purchase order is made and village building permits are approved, construction could begin as early as April.
“We don’t know exactly when in April but it’s fair to say it should begin then,” he said. “We do know that completion is marked for Aug. 17, in time for the season. Sightlines has familiarity with the work we’ve done here. All of the proposals had pluses and minuses. Some were better price points. Some we liked the materials more.”
Temporary bleachers used last season, and which seat 432 people, will be moved to Wellington High School’s soccer field, Weber said.
The board also voted to join TIPS, a purchasing program that lists seating proposals already approved at the state level, drastically quickening the process for school districts and vendors. District treasurer Tina Gabler said the decision could save two to three weeks worth of time in getting the new seats in place.
Bleacher proposals shown to the board by TDA Architecture, the company hired March 7 to plan a four-phase revamp of the stadium, ranged between $229,000 and $297,000. Some broke the $300,000 barrier once different options for seating elevation were factored in.
Board members questioned the cost of press boxes, which were cheapest at $67,000 under Sightlines’ plan. Others were as high as $95,596.
Scott Alleman, a representative from TDA, said those costs are usually associated with the press box needing its own support structure.
The district might seek grant funding for the bleachers.
“Through the Lorain County Solid Waste Commission, you can apply for grant funding on a reimbursement basis,” said Weber. “We haven’t been approved for it, but now that we’ve committed to spending the money, we can submit a request for it. Columbia has done it on a number of projects. In speaking with the superintendent there, he highly recommends the program.”
Grants may also help fund and speed up the four-year time frame for completely revamping the entire stadium.
Webber said new lights are on the agenda for 2018, a new track should follow in 2019, and the final phase in 2020 would entail a new field.
“If we were able to get these grant dollars, though, we might be able to expedite that timeline and maybe move up our schedule,” he said.
Although the extra funds would help, no parts of the project are dependent on them and money from the district’s permanent improvement fund has already been allocated for all four phases, expected to total a little over $1 million. If the grant money does come through, it would go back into the same fund, Weber said.
“We might not be eligible for the money until next year,” he said. “But we probably won’t even be actually spending the bleacher money until July or August. Then by the time the project closes out, we won’t have the finalized cost until the fall. This program does two rounds of funding a year, one in January and one in July. It’s a possibility.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.