DOBSON — After two and a half years of discussion, repair work for East Surry’s outdoor bleachers will soon go out for bids.
On Sunday Surry County Schools and the county Board of Education will celebrate the naming of East Surry’s football stadium in honor of David Diamont, the longtime teacher and football coach who retired earlier this year.
Earlier in the same week, the school board gave its approval for Robert Draughn, director of plant operations, to put a construction project out to bid that will replace the aging concrete visitors’ bleachers in the stadium.
Draughn brought up this issue to the school board in March 2016, then it was discussed at length in April 2017 during the board’s annual budget work sessions.
The visitor bleachers are concrete risers that are more than five decades old and now are crumbling, Draughn explained in 2017.
It had been suggested the year before that perhaps metal bleachers could be placed on top of the concrete to take on the weight of the fans walking and sitting on the bleachers.
The risers are not even structurally sound enough to support metal bleachers, said Dr. Travis Reeves, school superintendent.
Reeves said the district’s plan is to pour new footings which will support bleachers constructed with a steel frame and aluminum seats and walkways. Though the bleachers will be constructed over the concrete risers, the old bleachers will not support the weight of the new ones. The concrete will be left in place to prevent erosion on the steep bank.
“It’s the most cost effective way,” said Draughn of a plan to replace the visitor side bleachers.
The project would include adding some handicapped parking spaces close to the stadium, added Draughn.
The price tag given a year and a half ago was $562,375.
On Monday, the board heard from Perry Peterson, president of Peterson/Gordon Architects of Winston-Salem. He said an estimate done this year pushed the price much higher to about $595,000 as construction work has picked up and costs have grown greatly over the past few years.
However, he added, a similar project elsewhere recently came back with a low bid much less than anticipated, so he and the school board “will find out the truth of the numbers” when the bids come in.
Peterson said the project would begin at the start of December, after the football playoffs ended. Then the goal is to finish hopefully by mid-June and most certainly by July 1.
Reeves wondered if this would affect East Surry’s spring sports that use the stadium: girls’ soccer and outdoor track, causing them to resort to only away matches.
Draughn and Peterson said the goal is to keep contractors and equipment away from the track surface that encloses the sports field.
If the workers entered the stadium from the fieldhouse gate, that would mean crossing the track surface that comes close to the fence there. Instead, the men said a construction entrance could be cut into the fence to go on the south side of the concession stand. That way traffic could come off Old U.S. 52 and right up to the visitors’ side.
Reeves pointed out that East Surry likes to hold its graduation in the stadium, and the bleachers do get used by parents and relatives. He said he would love for the project to be completed by the end of May so that it wouldn’t interfere with graduation.
Peterson said he could include language in the bid proposal aimed at getting the work done by mid-May; that way there would be a couple of weeks of play in case of bad weather or other unforeseen events.
After the discussion, the school board voted to allow the project to go to bid.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.