The timetable could change, but barring something unexpected major progress on two projects at Wayne Jamison Field should take place this week, Bridgeport High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Matt DeMotto said.
With almost all of the prep work done for the projects that total more than a half a million dollars, DeMotto is hoping weather and other unexpected issue do not put a cramp in the efforts to complete the installation of a new scoreboard and the replacement of all of the bleachers on the home side of Jamison Field and the entire middle section of bleachers on the visitor’s side.
The school, which will cover the cost of the scoreboard through monies raised through advertising sold on it, has taken delivery of the new video scoreboard. Already, an earth bridge has been placed over the all-weather track to allow for the equipment to be transferred onto the field without doing damage to the track. Before the scoreboard can go up, holes have to be drilled to allow for the support poles to be put into place.
“We’re just waiting on the driller. When it comes to those guys, there are two things that can affect their schedule,” said DeMotto. “The issues can be the type of rock they run into and weather.”
As for the rock, the driller ran into rock during a drill at the new football field on the campus of Alderson-Broaddus College, which put the schedule for the BHS work back several days. After that work is done, four holes for new lights at East-West Stadium in Fairmont have to be drilled.
For those thinking that the drilling can take place in inclement weather, they’re correct. However, it’s not the drilling itself in bad weather that’s the problem.
“You have a 60,000 pound piece of equipment that, if it’s raining, you have to take that through the grass and the mud and if the operator of that equipment gets stuck, then they get paid while they’re waiting for it to be removed,” DeMotto said. “That’s where the weather can delay them, particularly going from one work site to another.”
DeMotto said the owner of the drilling company said the middle of this week is a possibility. Weather, and potential rock issues at East-West Stadium, could factor into the mix.
“I’d feel good by the end of (this) week to see them there,” DeMotto said. “Once we get a hole going, people will see progress. We’ll be able to determine the length of the steel to order and get going. The installer has confidence that we’ll be done well ahead of when we need it. He’s not missed an installation deadline to date.”
The worst-case scenario for BHS would involve a hold that’s being drilled to cave in. DeMotto called that a “nightmare” scenario. He added that it’s not happened to the installer yet and there are precautions that could be taken if that seems like a possibility.
“If it gets close to deadline we’ve been assured by the installer that they’ll work around the clock to get it done,” DeMotto said.
One other thing working in favor of Bridgeport is that the installer of the scoreboard and the driller – two different entities – work in tandem to make sure everything is progressing correctly.
As for the bleachers, there has been noticeable improvement there. In the last week, the concrete foundation was laid and the remaining earth work around the foundation appeared to be completed.
“They should be going up with the frame soon,” DeMotto said. “People will see some serious progress on the frame. Although that project has been hampered by some of the bad weather we’ve seen, the installer there has informed me that once the frame is up then you’ll see progress more readily; it will be obvious.”
After the bleachers are done, DeMotto is still hopeful that a community volunteer will come forward and help with a new tunnel for players leading to the field. The previous tunnel was demolished once the bleachers were taken down. DeMotto said for those thinking the Board of Education will do a new tunnel before school gets underway that they would be incurred.
“We’ve had people ask us about the tunnel and who will do it and we’ve asked those same people to help us,” DeMotto said. “The best way to get this done is with volunteers and we don’t have a lot of time to do it.
“A tunnel to our field is not going to be a priority for (the Harrison County Board of Education’s) Maintenance (department, nor should it be,” DeMotto continued. “We want it and its tradition for the kids, but if it’s not in place I think it will be okay. At the same time, we’re listening to any offers.”
Individuals can contact DeMotto, or any other school administrator, at 304-842-3693.
The scoreboard, as mentioned, was paid for by advertising and cost roughly $115,000. The bleachers, which is a BOE project, came in at $465,000. The Bridgeport bleachers are the last of the new bleachers that have been installed at all five Harrison County high schools.