BRUNSWICK — In 2011, a $4.7 million renovation of the Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium was completed, including new bleachers, locker rooms, restrooms, concessions, new turf and other improvements.
One thing that was not touched were the visitors bleachers on the east side of the stadium and now school officials say a $500,000 replacement project must get underway immediately if the bleachers are to be ready for fall sports.
According to an inspection completed earlier this year by Farnham Equipment Co., the current grandstands have significant points of failures.
There is missing or loose hardware on the deck and risers, missing end caps on the aisle stairs, loose/missing or damaged hardware on the handrails and seats that are broken/damaged or have loose/missing hardware that is creating an unstable seating surface.
The findings in the six-page report were enough to make school board members approve a motion Tuesday that called for the emergency removal of the visitors stands at the high school’s Auto Mart Stadium.
“The support structure had started to rust and the cement on the bottom was cracking, just overall wear and tear,” said Superintendent Michael Mayell.
The project will cost nearly $500,000 and the stands will be completely replaced. Construction will start as soon as possible as the district would like the project to be completed by August.
E&D Specialty Stands will complete the work.
While many parts of the stadium were remodeled in 2011, Mayell said a decision was made not to include the bleachers as a part of the remodel.
“The bleachers that we are replacing have been here for well over 25 years, I’d say,” Mayell said. “The visitors bleachers at the time were in good shape. There was no reason to renovate them.”
Money from this project will come from the contract for the naming rights of the stadium in which the district receives $50,000 annually.
In 2013, school board members approved a 16-year agreement between the school and the Brunswick Auto Mart. In exchange for the naming rights, the auto dealer will donate $50,000 annually to the district for 15 years for a total of $750,000. There is no payment due for the final year of the agreement. Both the school district and dealership can cancel the agreement after 10 years.
Brunswick Auto Mart has sponsored the stadium’s scoreboard in the past.
In addition to football games, the stadium also hosts soccer, lacrosse, track and field events, marching band competitions and other community events.
The bleachers will not be used again until the construction and it does not appear that the construction will not interfere with spring and summer activities and events.