Tipp City schools to replace aging bleachers at stadiums

The Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education agreed Monday to have administrators pursue a plan to replace aging bleachers at the Tipp City Park Stadium.

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The Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education agreed Monday to have administrators pursue a plan to replace aging bleachers at the Tipp City Park Stadium.

Theresa Dunaway and Anne Zakkour vote against plan; requested more time on decision

The Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education agreed Monday to have administrators pursue a plan to replace aging bleachers at the Tipp City Park Stadium.

The board in April heard details of several options. The bleachers have structural problems and do not meet handicapped accessibility requirements, Superintendent Mark Stefanik said.

Among options was not holding games at the stadium in the fall, said Kim Hagen, district business operations coordinator.

Because deficiencies are known, the district would be liable if anyone was injured on the bleachers, she said.

The board Monday held a long debate on the options before board President Simon Patry proposed approval of a plan outlined by Hagen earlier in the meeting. The plan was approved 3-2 with Patry, Rick Mains and Amber Drum voting in favor and Theresa Dunaway and Anne Zakkour voting against.

The plan includes:

- Demolishing the bleachers and leveling of land for around $29,860

- Pursuing a contract for pouring a concrete pad, footers and site preparation for new bleaches for $112,000

- Contracting for bleachers for $280,000

- Contacting Tipp Pride Association to see what it has available to assist with the project, including possibly in-kind help with concrete work. TPA is a nonprofit formed to raise money for the stadium project. Two phases of a multi-phase program have been completed. The third phase was to include the bleacher work along with a new press box and other work.

The bleachers could be repurposed for other uses in the district should the project third phase move forward down the road, Hagen said.

TPA said recently it was reorganizing its leadership and did not have money at this time for bleachers.

- Contacting the city to see if it would participate any further in the stadium project. The city owns the stadium and leases it long term to the school district. The city participated in parts of the previous work.

In proposing the work and effort to obtain support from TPA and the city, Patry said now is the time to action. Another meeting and another discussion would just delay addressing the need, he said.

“We are going to have to do something with those bleachers. The only option to give (students) a season is to buy the $288,000 bleachers. At least it gives the kids a chance to have a season or part of a season at the stadium,” he said.

Hagen said she was told by a bleachers vendor that it would take eight weeks for delivery and two weeks to assemble them. That timeframe would have the bleachers ready before the start of school. Because of supply and vendor challenges, there is no guarantee of when the work will be done, Hagen said.

Mains said the board couldn’t continue doing nothing. “Let’s fix it for fall and then work this out … We have to do something if we are going to do what is right for the kids,” he said.

Dunaway said it was time for people to stop, take a breath and explore all options thoroughly. “I am tired of being reactionary,” she said. “Somebody needs to say stop … If we have to miss the season this year, so be it … I would rather take a breath and do it correctly.”

Zakkour proposed a second approach that she said was more “tailored.” That proposal called for removal of the bleachers and working with TPA and the city to see what could be done as far as added work on the project.

“The reason I like my motion is it is a more cautious approach. I haven’t lost sight of need to build classrooms” and other identified priorities, Zakkour said.

That option failed in a vote before the vote on the approved plan.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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