Blankenship Field looking for new bleachers after safety concerns

(WBIR) The last thing many football teams want to do is make their opponent more comfortable, but in the name of safety, Oak Ridge High School is reviewing the visitor's side of the field. Specifically, the bleachers.

"When you get anybody in Oak Ridge talking Oak Ridge Football, there is always a big discussion," said Oak Ridge School Board Chairman Keys Fillauer.

A discussion, not as much about the team on the field, but instead about the fans.

After inspections pointed out problems with the visitors stands, the Oak Ridge Board of Education approved the demolition of those bleachers.

"I think we've known our visitors' bleachers have been in trouble for years, and finally they have gotten to the point where they have been deemed unsafe," said head football coach Joe Gaddis.

RELATED: Oak Ridge BOE exploring outsourcing faculty

He said people were afraid they would fall through the visitor stands.

"They're gone. I really don't like looking at it, I will be happy when they get the new ones in," said Gaddis.

Now it's a waiting game.

The school board is waiting to hear the lowest bid on putting back the stands. Then it's time to figure out who's paying.

And this process needs to happen soon, if they are going to seat their first game.

"We know we have to get started by April 1st. We would like to get started May first because that gives us time to have these completed on time," said Fillauer.

This project could be funded through a few different ways.The school board could fully fund it...Or the city could help pay the bill.

"For Oak Ridgers we want the best stadium in the area, and we don't right now. We have for so many years, but now particularly this was a safety issue with these bleachers over here," said James Powers.

Powers is a fan of Oak Ridge Football, and a member of a committee looking to renovate the rest of the field as well as the bleachers.

This committee is going to base renovations on donations.

He said this project is only the beginning.

"I would say in a few years, hardly anybody is going to be able to recognize this stadium. It's going to be a showcase," said Powers.

But he understands other renovations can wait, and the plan is to prepare for the first home game.

"We're gonna seat those Farragut fans in style when they get here," said Powers.

Fillauer said decisions will be made about this project at their next meeting on March 24th.

They estimate this project to cost more than 350 thousand dollars.

The new plans for the bleachers minimize the seating from around three thousand to two thousand, and goes further back. This is to create better seats for a better cost.

The board will hear the lowest bid, and make a decision on when they can continue the project.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment