Volunteers dismantle Stadium Field seats for reconstruction project

PARKERSBURG – Preparations for the reconstruction of Stadium Field began Saturday with the removal of the bleachers from the home side of the 90-year-old facility.

Earl Johnson, president of the Parkersburg High Stadium Committee, said with the help of 65-70 volunteers, the old rails and bleachers will be put in storage until the reconstruction is complete.

“The intent is to save the bleachers to be reinstalled,” Johnson said Saturday. “We have a large group to help us with that, in fact a number of our athletes, from soccer and football, are here. We think athletes make good students.”

Parkersburg High School football coach Don Reeves said he is confident the stadium will be ready in time for the fall season in August.

“I have complete faith in the community to get it done and we will be on time,” he said. “It is important to us the players be a part of that. I told them this is something they can talk about 20 years from now.”

Johnson said the presence of the students was a big help in the project Saturday.

“Coach (Don) Reeves has been very effective in getting the players out and we have a number adults here,” he said.

When work began Saturday, Johnson said Reeves and some others had removed two bays of the bleachers prior to that.

“That gave us an advantage on starting today,” he said. “The biggest difficulty we have is some of the nuts and bolts are rusted and are difficult to get off.

“The bleachers are aluminum. They may be tarnished some but that does not affect their use.”

Johnson said the contracts for the demolition of the west stands are to be opened Tuesday and work should start in 12-14 days after that. He said the track, field and concession areas will not be affected by the work.

“There has been a lot of interest in contractors to do the job,” he said. “We have interest from firms in Columbus and local firms, we are anxious to get a good bid and have it done by Aug. 22, which would allow us to have our first home game here on Aug. 27.”

Johnson said since the stadium and school are on the National Register of Historic Places, they will have some guidelines to follow. Plans call for the west, or home, side for now. He said the seating will be slightly less, but the reconstructed stadium will be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition to soccer and football players, students from the J.E.T.S. program (Junior Engineering Technical Students) were on hand to help with marking the seats and handrails so they will be used in the right places when the reconstruction is complete, Johnson said.