Wood County BOE gets update on facility needs

PARKERSBURG – Wood County Schools’ committee to review architectural and engineering firms has narrowed its field to three and will submit them to state officials for review.

Finance Director Connie Roberts provided the Wood County Board of Education with an update Tuesday evening on the process to handle all architectural and engineering needs for the county, with the bleachers at Parkersburg High’s Stadium Field being a top priority.

“It’s a concern to quite a few people I’ve talked to,” said board member Jim Fox.

The stadium was shut down in November following an engineering report that stated the bleachers were unsafe. The report was based on a visual inspection of the stadium, which found numerous areas where concrete was cracking and pulling away from the structure.

Nine firms submitted an expression of interest in the schools’ projects. Roberts said the reviewing committee has narrowed the field to three. Those three firms will be vetted by the state School Building Authority (SBA) to make sure they meet state requirements.

Roberts said if SBA money is going to be used in the projects, the SBA needs to be included in the review process.

Roberts said the committee will set up interviews and then rank the three firms before making a selection. She noted the committee was only approving the firms to do the work.

“We will come to the board for the approval of any projects,” she said.

Roberts said the committee should have the ranking completed by the end of the month and have something to the board in February.

The expressions of interest from firms to provide architectural and engineering services for the board include: bond planning, and design and construction administration for the projects listed in the 2010-2020 CEFP (comprehensive education facilities plan), 10-year plan and other such services as approved by the board.

Wood County Schools Superintendent Pat Law said the firms are looking at the “big picture.”

Law told board members the PHS stadium committee asked if it could look for a short-term solution, something quick that would last for about five years, while allowing the facility to be used for the upcoming spring events.

The stadium was built in 1923 by the incorporated Stadium Committee on land owned by the school board. According to the history of Stadium Field, from the Big Reds Factbook, the board turned over the land to the committee on a 99-year lease.

The grandstands were constructed in 1924 and a steel frame was added in the early 1990s. The concrete has been patched and repaired numerous times over the years. It was declared unsafe last fall.