Demolition of high school bleachers underway

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Removal of the bleachers, closed since June, is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of February. Courtesy photo

By Max Bowen

Work has begun on the removal of the bleachers on the Ray Beaupre Field, part of a series of repair projects to take place over the next two years.

Demolition work on the bleachers began two weeks ago. Director of Facilities Kyle Kummer said the the first step was the removal of the aluminum planking, 60 percent of which was removed in two days. The next part will be the removal of the steel frame, but Kummer said that because of the size of the vehicles, they will need to wait until the ground freezes to avoid any significant disruption. Some of the materials may be recycled. This phase of the project will cost $64,900, out of $70,000 allocated from the school’s budget.

The goal here is to have the entire bleachers removed by the end of February,” said Kummer.

The bleachers were closed in early June following a structural analysis by Odeh Engineering. In its report, the engineering firm determined that the bleachers had “a high probability of failure.” Superintendent Scott Holcomb’s office had received a number of comments between November and January as to the safety of the bleachers. The report showed that sections of the first six rows could be used, but only after extensive repairs, and it was recommended that a sign be placed warning the public as to the potential safety hazard.

The removal of the bleachers is one of a series of repairs planned for the field, located next to North Attleborough High School. The next phase will be the replacement of the track, used for practices and meets, as well as by residents. A bid submission period has begun, and work is to begin at the end of the school year and be completed in time for the beginning of the school year.

The current track is an inch-thick mat glued to the asphalt beneath it. Over the years off-gassing has taken place, causing the glue to deteriorate. Sections have been replaced, but can be lifted up. In addition, a section of one lane of the track was cut away when the field was replaced.

It’s estimated that the new track will last 25-30 years and cost $679,000. A bonding request for $800,000 was recently approved by the Town Council. Any funds not used can be allocated to other school-related projects, with the council’s approval.

Arsen Hambardzumian, a member of the town’s Zoning Board, runs a business that designs athletic facilities and will be doing the design work for the track pro bono. Kummer said work will need to be done by March, to clear the site for track meets and practices.