The low bid on the bleacher replacement project at Blankenship Field came in at $523,940, a school official said Friday.
The bid on the project to replace the demolished visitor bleachers includes grading work and a handicap sidewalk at Jack Armstrong Stadium. Proposals were accepted through Friday. The recommended proposal from Dant Clayton Corp. of Louisville, Ky., will be considered by the Oak Ridge Board of Education on Monday.
Allen Thacker, Oak Ridge Schools maintenance and operations supervisor, said the project could cost another $40,000 if the Wildcat Crossing stairs on the home side of the field are reconditioned. That would make the total cost $563,940. It was the lowest of two qualified bids.
Thacker said funding for the project has not yet been identified. It’s been discussed at several recent meetings of the Oak Ridge City Council and Board of Education. Municipal and education officials have said options include city funding, school funding, a mix of the two, and donations. Earlier this month, School Board Chair Keys Fillauer told City Council that a funding decision could be made Monday.
Thacker said seven contractors attended a pre-bid walkthrough, but only two submitted bids.
Inspectors had determined that the bleachers were no longer safe for fans, would have cost too much to repair, and should be demolished immediately. The Oak Ridge Board of Education unanimously agreed to demolish them in January. The work was done by Oak Ridge Schools maintenance staff, and it took about two weeks.
Besides replacing the visitor bleachers and repairing the Wildcat Crossing stairs, the project could include removing trees behind the visitor bleachers and adding 20 disabled parking spots to the lower-level city-owned parking lot on Broadway as well as a ramp from that parking lot to the track level of Blankenship Field.
The seating capacity of the visitor bleachers will be reduced from 3,400 to 2,000 seats, and the new bleachers will be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act.
Members of a Blankenship Revitalization Committee have attended recent City Council and School Board meetings and urged local officials to work together to pay for the new bleachers. The committee, which is chaired by Athletic Director Mike Mullins, is working on a separate initiative for a more comprehensive revamp of Jack Armstrong Stadium and Blankenship Field that could cost several million dollars. Committee members have said that funding commitments from the city and school officials for the bleachers would send a positive signal to potential stadium donors, including out-of-town alumni. The renovations could be the first major changes at Blankenship Field since 1975.
See the March 21 letter from Thacker to Karen Gagliano, Oak Ridge Schools business and support services director, here: Blankenship Bleacher Project Bid Letter.