Officials scrambling to complete Stadium Field work

PARKERSBURG – Officials are scrambling on several fronts to continue renovations at Parkersburg High School’s Stadium Field, after receiving word the project is going to cost a half-million dollars above estimates.

The project – the renovations of the home-side bleachers – was estimated to cost about $1.5 million. It may be closer to $2 million, according to officials.

“A few jaws dropped,” said Stadium Committee member Mike Hayden.

The stadium was shuttered late last year after defects were discovered. Officials estimated it would cost about $3 million to address the issues. The project was split, and administrators put together a plan to create $1.5 million to complete work on the home-side bleachers before the start of fall sports.

Stadium Committee officials secured a $600,000 loan through First Neighborhood Bank. The Wood County Board of Education committed $700,000 to the project. Committee officials, who also presented school officials with a $40,000 check, said the remainder of the money would come through fundraising efforts.

“We are working like the dickens and it’s really slow,” Hayden said. “We need all kinds of help. We are really having a tough time.”

All money for the project is being handled by Wood County Schools Finance Director Connie Roberts. The school system has spent approximately $854,000 on the project with one bid package remaining.

Phase one and two of the renovations at Stadium Field came off without a hitch.

Sue Woodward, assistant superintendent of Wood County Schools, said phase one of the package is “100 percent complete” and phase two is proceeding as planned. Bids for the third package were opened last week. Officials have not yet seen the bids. The numbers have only been verbalized by architects to officials. The matter will be discussed at next week’s board of education meeting.

“The whole shooting match is higher than what’s in the bank,” Woodward said of the phase three package.

Hayden said the Stadium Committee routinely raises $30,000-$40,000 a year to put back into the stadium. The committee now has the burden of a $600,000 loan to repay. And they need to come up with another half million dollars just to complete the home-side renovations.

Committee officials were hoping an entity would express interest in purchasing naming rights. That has not yet materialized.

“Right now, it is a little scary,” he said.

“Yes, there is some concern about the funding,” said Stadium Committee President Earl Johnson. “We will continue to work on it.”

Woodward said for the third package of the project to be completed, “creativity or funding” will be required.

Pickering Associates President Ryan Taylor will present a plan to the board at Tuesday’s meeting to possibly separate the third package into two stages to stay within the money that is currently available, Woodward said. She added officials are also re-evaluating the bid package and specifications for value engineering.

“Our architect is working diligently to keep this as economical and safe as they can,” she said. “They are looking at options to see if there are options.”

Johnson said in spite of the revised numbers he has no doubt the project will be finished.

“I have no doubt we will finish the job, and we will continue to look at the completion date of late August, early September,” he said. “We want to play football and soccer there this fall.”