Stadium still needs more repair funds

PARKERSBURG -Tuesday night’s decision by the Wood County Board of Education to provide $700,000 to begin repairs to the bleachers at Parkersburg High’s Stadium Field only started to address the issues of the 90-year-old structure.

Wood County School Board President Tim Yeater said the five-member board’s 4-0 decision to provide money for repairs addresses only half the issue.

When the stadium committee requested funding Tuesday it was to help cover $1.3 million in repairs to the home side of the stadium bleachers. The board will provide $700,000, while the stadium committee will seek a $400,000 loan, $60,000 of its money and $40,000 from capital improvements.

“We just agreed to one half of it,” Yeater said. “There is a plan in effect for the whole thing. Are they coming back next year?”

That’s unknown at this point, but stadium committee officials will begin fundraising efforts.

Charlotte Potter, treasurer for the stadium committee, said she’s had preliminary discussions with bank officials and there should be no issues to secure a $400,000 loan. Potter said the committee had previously gotten a similar, 7-year loan (for the track at the stadium) and paid it off in three years.

Joe Carrico, with the stadium committee, told the board if the potential for naming rights comes up, they will come back.

Plugging taxpayer money into the project also ramps up the board’s responsibility and oversight on the project. With public funding driving the project there are more hoops; bidding procedures and prevailing wages are now part of the process.

“If the scope is changed at all, we need to be part of that process,” Yeater said. He said those issues shouldn’t hinder the push to have renovations completed by fall.

Ryan Taylor, president of Pickering Associates, said the costs and time schedule for the project shouldn’t change.

Taylor said public construction projects lose some flexibility, but doesn’t present much of a hurdle in terms of the completion schedule. The renovated portions of the stadium will be up to modern code specifications and ADA compliant. It will still require cosmetic attention.

“We based the project on prevailing wage, knowing there would be funding there,” he said.