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High school sports: Willoughby South to renovate football stands – News

The Willoughby-Eastlake school district is on the clock, after an assessment of Harry E. Winters Stadium deemed the stadium seating to be not up to code and on the level of condemnation.
In light of the assessment done by the districts insurance provider, a renovation of Winters Stadium will begin this spring. The construction is scheduled to be completed in time for the start of the 2014-15 school year, said the school districts Director of Operations Steve Nedlik.
The renovation of the stadiums seating is expected to cost between $900,000 and $1 million. Nedlik said the money will come out of the districts operating fund.
We knew we needed to make some upgrades at the facility, Nedlik said March 14. Its mandated we do this. Were required to do it to be insured.
The current stands at Winters Stadium, home of the South football, soccer and track and field teams, were constructed in 1963, said Willoughby-Eastlake Schools Superintendent Stephen L. Thompson in a news release.
The stadium capacity is just less than 4,000. The stadium, Thompson said, serves about 40,000 visitors throughout a school year.
But in recent weeks, the school districts insurance carrier conducted a review of the facility. The assessment determined the seating at Winters Stadium was not only out of compliance with current building codes per the Americans With Disabilities Act, but was also in such a state of disrepair the seating should be condemned.
It was mandated by the school districts insurance carrier that the bleachers be replaced by a target date of August 2014.
There is a high priority connected with a significant safety defect pertaining to the South High School bleachers, the assessment read. The grandstands are not compliant with current safety codes.
Nedlik said the existing frame of the home and visitor bleachers arent able to be fixed to the point of compliance with the codes.
So we have to scrap it and start over, Nedlik said.
The new bleachers will be aluminum. While the seating capacity will remain in the 4,000 range, the stadium will be up to code seating-wise.
The press box will also be replaced.
Nedlik said he was at Mayfield High School the afternoon of March 14 to view the stadium seating there. Mayfield reconstructed their football stadium a year ago.
The home side of their stadium is the perfect footprint of what we will have at Willoughby South, Nedlik said.
The renovation will force some schedule shuffling this coming spring, since track and field meets will not be able to be held at Winters Stadium. Nedlik said the annual Rebel Relays have been moved to North, while the Premier Athletic Conference track and field meet originally scheduled to be hosted by South will be held at a yet-to-be-determined site.
Over the past handful of years, bit-by-bit improvements have been done at Winters Stadium, including the replacement of ticket booths, construction of a new scoreboard and the addition of a play clock. All of those renovations were provided either by private donations or from the booster clubs, costing the taxpayers nothing.
The stadium seating renovation was required by code and is a necessary expensive process, Nedlik said.
Theres no fluff to it, he said. Theres no way to do it any cheaper to get compliant.

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