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Bleacher issue could delay start of football season

The football complex at Goodrich High School. The bleachers are six feet too close to the track. Photo by Patrick McAbee. (click for larger version)
June 27, 2012 - Goodrich-School officials are grappling with an apparent miscalculation in the placement of new bleachers at the football complex.

In February 2011 district voters approved a $15.4 million bond extension to be used for educational facilities, technology, athletics and energy upgrades. Architects from Fanning Howey, along with construction management services representatives from Wolgast Corporation, were hired by the district last year to design and oversee the projects. Construction has been ongoing since the summer of 2011, with many of the bids for projects awarded including the football field, bleachers and concessions stands.

At a cost of $425,000 Graham, Texas-based Southern Bleacher Company was awarded the bid for construction of the 1,500 seat capacity facility for the home side of the stadium. The plans required a six foot distance between the bleachers and a fence which borders the track surrounding the football field. The opening—detailed in the approved plans—is needed to accommodate a walkway for fans, said John Fazer, district superintendent.

The placement issue was discovered a few weeks ago by a school official who just happened to be at the football complex observing the construction process.

"The bottom line is the footings to attach the bleachers to were dug in the wrong position—six feet too close to the field," said Fazer. "In our plans for the football complex we had specifically set back the bleachers six feet just for the walkway. Similar projects built by Southern Bleacher keep the bleachers closer to the field."

"We believe it was an inadvertent mistake—it's up to Southern Bleacher and Wolgast to determine the remedy," he said. "It's going to be up to the lawyers right now to determine just how and when the issue is gong to be rectified."

While the construction companies determine the most direct way to move the bleachers back six feet—the most direct method suggested would be to dismantle the structure, added Fazer.

"The fix would exceed $100,000 and it would take about a week to do," he said. "We are concerned the move would not allow us to have the first football game of the season on the new field."

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