Section of Memorial Field east-side bleachers to be removed next month

About half of the east-side bleachers at Memorial Field that were found to be destabilized by a sinkhole this month will be removed later next month.

The school board gave its approval Monday to move forward with getting bids to have the stands removed, which the district expects to happen by Nov. 30.

The removal of the east-side bleachers is part of a larger $2.7 million project at Memorial Field that includes new bleachers on the west side of the field, for visiting teams' fans.

Administrators are recommending the district spend about $2 million to install new bleachers on the west side of the field.

Administrators are also recommending spending about $600,000 to replace the field’s turf.

Physical Plant Director Ed Poprik thought the cost to remove the section of east-side bleachers would be less than $75,000 and will depend on the bids received.

The board is expected to vote on the $2.7 million project at a meeting next month. If approved, the bleacher project would start later this year. Administrators want it to be done before fall sports start in the 2013-2014 school year.

State College’s Public Works Department will stabilize the sinkhole at no cost to the district.

The sinkhole was detected earlier this month under the east side bleachers. Over the past two weeks, crews did work to repair the bleachers that were affected by the sinkhole, and the south part that was closed because of the sinkhole will reopen today for District 6 soccer playoffs.

District spokeswoman Julie Miller said the district will not have to borrow money for the bleacher project. That money will come from reserves.

In other business Monday, the school board approved a $78,000 contract with Brainspaces Inc., to do educational planning services as part of the district’s high school renovation and construction project.

The educational planner would be charged with making the district’s educational programs and where they are taught sync with the design of the building:.

The planner, Amy Yurko, of Chicago, is expected to be at the board’s next meeting, Nov. 12.

This story has to been updated to reflect the following correction to the story that first appeared online today: The school board voted Monday to seek bids for the removal of the east-side bleachers affected by the sinkhole. District administrators are recommending a $2.7 million project to replace the west-side bleachers, replace the turf and pay for removing the east-side bleachers.

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT