Seating at high school field rearranged for fall seasonPublished 11:29am Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Hometown fans in Fergus Falls will see football and soccer games from a different angle this 2013 fall sports season.
The main set of bleachers at the high school football and soccer field has been closed to the public because of a defect in the support beams. To prepare for attendance during the upcoming season, temporary bleachers have been placed on the track’s north side.
The temporary bleachers will serve as seating for visiting fans. The city of Fergus Falls has also moved several metal bleachers from city parks behind the south side stands, which will serve as the home section. A concession trailer will be brought to the south side as well.
“Obviously, safety is the number one concern,” said Superintendent Jerry Ness. “We’re making it as nice as we can for our fans this season.”
The school board hired an engineering study after the defeat of the Outdoor Facility project in April. While performing the study, the defect, along with other structural issues, were found and deemed necessary to fix.
The study helped determine the extent of the work needed to improve the structure of the bleachers and bring them to handicap accessible code. The school board will investigate the cost of improvements and weigh that option against replacing the bleachers altogether.
The board should know what course to take this fall after further evaluation of the structure and possible improvements. If new bleachers are needed, including a press box and handicap accessible entrances, the district expects the cost to be between $700,000 and $800,000, according to Ness.
Whatever improvements are needed, construction should completed by the start of the 2014 fall sports season.
“If we can do anything construction wise this fall, we’ll do it,” Ness said. “Otherwise, it will be spring and it will be ready for next season.”
A $5 million referendum last spring meant to expand outdoor facilities on the school campus would have built a new football field and bleachers. The measure failed, however, with 55 percent of voters opposed.