NAHS Bleachers

The football field bleachers at the high school are expected to be replaced.

NORTH ATTLEBORO — The school department plans to have unsafe bleachers at the high school football field demolished and later replaced.

Superintendent Scott Holcomb said Friday the bleachers are in such bad condition, with rusted and rotted steel, that they cannot be repaired.

Bids will be sought for the work and removal can be done within months, he said.

The school department has hired the architectural firm of Keastle Boos to develop bid specifications.

Holcomb said the schools do not yet have a cost estimate for the demolition or installation of new bleachers and the town has not decided how it will pay for the work.

Seeking grants, using free cash or borrowing the money through capital improvements or a combination of the three are among the possibilities, he said.

Attleboro school officials have told Holcomb that when a new football stadium was built several years ago it cost about $550,000 for bleachers. That price did not include the cost of removing the old bleachers.

Holcomb said new bleachers will have to comply with the federal Americans with Disability Act provisions for accessibility.

The old bleachers at North Attleboro High School were closed last spring when they were inspected just before graduation.

The inspection found supports were so rusted and floorboards so unstable that the bleachers were unusable.

The report said the 50-year-old bleachers had outlived their useful life.

Graduation was moved to Community Field and recently the school announced home football games will also be played at Community Field because it has adequate seating.

Small sets of bleachers from other fields have been moved to the football stadium, known as Beaupre Field, for soccer, field hockey, track and other sports.

The artificial turf at the field was just installed last year and is in excellent condition.

Holcomb said new bleachers were not added to the artificial turf project because of cost and the belief that the bleachers would last longer.

Jim Hand may be reached at 508-236-0399 or jhand@thesunchronicle.com.

You can follow him on Twitter at @TSCpolitics.

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