Contracted crews have completed installing new, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant home side bleachers at White Plains High School, education officials said Friday.
“It’s unbelievable how great they look,” Calhoun County Schools Superintendent Joe Dyar said by phone.
The bleachers cost $529,000 to install, and replaced worn out bleachers as old as the school’s football program, Dyar said.
The old ones had started to bow in places, system maintenance supervisor Dee Ingram said. With the upgrade, fans bound to wheelchairs can access seating from ramps, and rails divide each row for safety.
Dyar said the stands are enclosed on both ends and also feature a bandstand area, giving the home side a “junior college stadium” look. Work on the new stands began in mid March, and finished last month.
“However, the visitor side bleachers are in dire need of being replaced,” Dyar said. He hopes to ask the Board of Education to undertake that project next fiscal year.
Meanwhile, another project to add 3,370 square feet of dressing room space at Ohatchee High School’s football stadium continues, Ingram said, and should finish next month.
The $682,500 brick building will feature two locker rooms: one for the Ohatchee High’s Indians, the other for visiting teams. The rooms are equipped with showers, Ingram said.
Such facilities are necessary if a school hosts a state championship-level football game — as Ohatchee did last year, Dyar said. Portable showers were brought in for that game.
Both projects will finish for slightly less than expected, Ingram said, though any leftover money in Ohatchee will likely go toward removing an unsightly utility pole outside the building.
As to the cost of that building, Dyar said an improving economy has driven up the cost of construction, and that construction must be done by contractors qualified to do the work.
“These buildings don’t come cheap,” he said. “There’s a heavy price to pay if an accident occurs 10 to 15 years down the road.”