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Brand new bleachers

Bid approved for improved seating at Knight Field

KINGWOOD — The Preston County Board of Education  approved the bid for new football bleachers at Knight Field.

  The field, at Preston High School (PHS), is home to the school football team and used for graduation and other events.

But for the past several years, the aging bleachers have been a problem. This year they were condemned. Two local companies, JNB Services LLC, and 3D Drilling volunteered time and equipment to remove the old bleachers.

 On Monday, the board approved a bid of $739,950 from Stadium Solutions Inc., of Butler, Pa., to provide and install new seating.

 The bleachers should be in place by 2021 graduation, Superintendent Steve Wotring said.

Mark Klopfer, design engineer for Stadium Solutions,  answered the board’s questions about the bleachers. The company also provided references for past projects it has done in the area, including the Morgantown High School home side bleachers.

Board Member Jeanne Dreisbach said she has been at a number of the schools where Stadium Solutions put in bleachers and “aesthetically they are very, very nice.”

Board President Jack Keim asked if the 2,800 seats is the maximum that could be built at the stadium. He noted that in order to host a playoff game, AAA schools must have 4,000 permanent seats.

Because of the topography, no more seats could be placed on the home side, Klopfer said. The bleachers will stretch from 7-yard-line to 7-yard-line. More seats could be put on the other side of the field, he said, using columns or piers going down the hill.

That’s something to possibly consider later, Keim said.

 The risers will be powder-coated in black and silver, the school colors.

  By approving the bid in December and generating a letter of intent, Preston avoided about a $58,530 price increase that goes into affect Jan. 1 because of increases in materials cost.

Board Member Bruce Huggins, a former PHS athletic director and teacher, said he likes that the bleachers will be closed along the crosswalk.

 “One of the hardest things we always had, and everybody here can attest, was the garbage that went through (the steps),” Huggins said. “It’s such an eyesore. We’d work our tails off and still couldn’t get everything out.”

It also will stop cell phones from falling through, he said. 

The powder-coated finish and front closure were optional, and the board could have proceeded without them for $689,700. Wotring and his staff recommended including the options.

“I’m just saying if we’re going to do it, let’s do it right,” the superintendent said.