Stadium renovation 'going pretty smoothly'
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
May 31, 2013 | 1391 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The $1.8 million renovation of Buckeye Stadium is “going pretty smoothly” and the facility will be ready to host Gilmer High School commencement exercises Friday, June 7, project manager Brent Bishop told the School Board Monday night.

In the meantime, Supt. Rick Albritton warned the public to avoid the entire construction area until then, since Bishop said it is dangerous.

The project involves greatly expanded home-side seating and a new press box which will accommodate 38 persons. Work began last year.

Bishop, a GHS graduate and employee of WRL General Contractors, Inc. in Flint, said aluminum bleachers have been fully installed on the home side. And while work remains to be done on the new press box, such as installing some of its glass, its “structure” is complete, he told the board.

The press box’s elevator arrived last week, Bishop added. The box will be accessible only by elevator, as its stairs will be closed off, Albritton said.

The press box will feature the letter “G” in orange in several places, and the wording “Home of the Buckeyes,” Bishop said.

The rest rooms on the ground floor of the 2-story box have also been partially completed, he reported.

Plans call for 1,028 orange stadium chairs in the bleachers, 200 of which Bishop said will be installed in July. The stadium had only about 610 such chairs for season ticket holders in the past, said Albritton.

For the most part, those who have been on the waiting list for such seats will get them, except for those who applied in the last two weeks, he said. “They will get a railback (seat),” he said, adding “I’m not going to be able to honor every request.”

Also, on Thursdays and Fridays, parents of high school seniors may be allowed to have the first chance to buy certain seats for the next week’s game, Albritton said Thursday.

The board is further considering prohibiting fans from loitering on the home side, requiring they remain in the areas of their seats unless in line for concessions or the rest room, school officials indicated. The “hill” where children played football will be fenced off and no longer used for that.

Albritton said the school has a motto for fans — “Be a Buckeye. Don’t be a nut.” — and that those who violate fan rules may be escorted from the stadium.

In addition, the stadium is almost tripling the amount of handicapped seating and will look at opening a portion of the time for handicapped parking, Albritton said.

Some of the parking lot now has spaces reserved for those who donate a certain amount to the Booster Club, and Albritton indicated there may be more such paid reserved parking at $50 per space for the season.

School Board President Jeff Rash noted the school will also sell its own merchandise, such as tee shirts, caps and seat cushions, in the stadium. And while vendors will sell popcorn in the stands, Albritton said their wares will cost more than if obtained at the concession stand.
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