Upgrades to football facilities planned at city, county schools
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 12:00 AM
In an effort to update their respective campuses, superintendents of both city and county school districts plan to update their football facilities.
Terry Larabee, superintendent of the Philadelphia Public School District, said work would begin in the spring to replace the current wooden visitor bleachers at Harpole Stadium with new metal ones.
"They're [the wooden bleachers] very dangerous with gaps in spaces," he said. "We have a problem each year with board rot."
The new bleachers will be metal with an extra 250 seating capacity, bringing the number of seats from 500 to 750.
Larabee also noted the new bleachers would add to the aesthetics of the stadium, as well as save money for the school.
"We're more concerned with safety and the new bleachers will be solid so people can't fall through," he said.
On the other side of town, County Superintendent Tommy Dearing said his school is discussing plans to update the home bleachers and press box at Rocket Field.
"We're still in the planning stages and no designs have been approved yet," he said. "We're just tossing around ideas."
Dearing noted that any changes would be part of an overall building update project. This project, hypothetically, might also include adding a new wing for more classrooms, he said.
"We're kind of landlocked with space so we would need to make sure changes would be where we could get the greatest use," Dearing said.
While both schools are in the planning stages now, Philadelphia has already allocated funds for the construction.
Funds were already obtained from a 10-year, 3-mill bond, he said.
The money is allocated for "capital improvements."
Larabee noted some people might lament the fact that the school is spending money on new bleachers.
"These funds can only be used for capital improvements, like the bleachers," he said. "Right now I'm more concerned with everyone's safety."
Larabee said the School Board has nine bids under advisement for the project.
Construction is expected to begin this spring with an estimated 75 days allotted for construction.
"They'll be finished before football season," Larabee said. "They'd better be."
Philadelphia is also expected to start work on updating the roof of the main high school building.
This work, which is still in the bidding phase, is to complete the previous work began in 2011 by Norman Enterprises of Meridian.
Over the past few years, both schools have worked to improve their facilities with the addition of new concession stands, at Neshoba, and roofs at both schools.