A Game of Beat The Clock

PARKERSBURG – Members of the Parkersburg High School Stadium Committee find themselves in a race against time in their efforts to have the facility ready in time for the Big Reds’ opening football game on Aug. 30 against Warren.

Ryan Taylor, president of Pickering Associates – who is overseeing the ongoing construction project at the stadium -told committee members at their regular weekly meeting on Monday the project was supposed to be completed on Aug. 16 but has fallen behind schedule. Taylor said he believed the project still could be completed on time, but that would depend on whether the committee had the proper funds to pre-order materials.

Taylor emphasized it is the second week of July and if he doesn’t have the funds to place orders soon, the project won’t meet its deadline.

“It’s a big deal to be open by football season,” he said. “Right now, it is not going to be.”

Stadium committee members expressed frustration that the public believes they have received $700,000 from the Wood County Board of Education, when they put the number at just $575,000. Taylor plans to address the BOE tonight regarding the funding of the project.

Parkersburg High has no contingency plan to move any home games away from Stadium Field. If it becomes absolutely necessary, the season-opening game can be moved to Warren, but PHS officials don’t want to have that make call and will do so only as a last resort.

The Big Reds are off the second week of the season and play at Cabell Midland on Sept. 13, so the second home game is not until Sept. 20 against Capital.

Meanwhile, Parkersburg Catholic, which also calls Stadium Field home, has made arrangements to play its home games at Jackson Middle School Stadium in Vienna, should that become necessary.

Taylor said the installation of precast concrete slabs on the home side of the stadium has gone slower than expected. Construction crews were supposed to average 12 per day, but six has been the norm.

Committee members remain determined to fund the remainder of the project, estimated at $1.9 million. The project became necessary when the Stadium Field bleachers were deemed unsafe during an engineering inspection.

In addition to taking out a loan for $600,000, the stadium committee is planning various fundraising projects in the immediate future. It has plans to flood downtown Parkersburg with PHS athletes and supporters in an attempt to raise money on July 26 and 27. It also is selling T-shirts and will conduct the traditional PHS Ice Cream Social.

The work being planned will fix just the pressbox side of the stadium. It is estimated to fix the bleachers on both sides of Stadium Field will run $3 million.