Wood BOE to review measures to ‘save season’

PARKERSBURG -Wood County Board of Education members will consider cost-saving measures to get Parkersburg High’s Stadium Field open during football season.

Board members got an update Tuesday on the Stadium Field project from Ryan Taylor, president of Pickering Associates. Taylor said the project needs about $275,000 to get the stadium ready for the football season.

However, officials are resigned to the fact the Big Reds home opener with Warren will have to be moved. The stadium could be ready by mid-September.

“Are we at the point where we are not going to have a season?” asked board member Jim Fox. “How can we whittle this down to save the season?”

Taylor presented board members with several scenarios that can get the stadium open sometime this fall. A possible scenario will include amphitheater-type seating (sitting on the concrete), with the installation of the bleachers to be done at a later date.

During a 45-minute presentation, officials went through a possible punch list of items that can be removed or omitted to move the project forward.

No decision was made. Such options will have to be vetted by the state fire marshal’s office and the board of risk management before being approved by the board.

Taylor was hesitant to put a dollar amount on the money needed to continue the project and have the stadium ready by mid-September.

“I’ll be able to tell you as soon as I know what I am allowed to eliminate,” he said.

Taylor credited the Parkersburg Building Trades with doing a great deal of volunteer work for the project. He said the trades – through volunteer labor – has saved the project about $20,000.

Fox, noting time was of the essence to save the season, said board members could meet as early as next week to approve changes if needed.

Taylor said officials need money now to continue the project. At some point next month contractors will halt the project, he said.

In order to proceed the project needs significant funds to order long-range items, such as steel. Taylor said such items require an 8-10 week lead time.

Board officials approved the $50,000 allocated as a contingency for the project to be put toward the construction costs. Board member Tim Yeater was not present.

The board has allocated $700,000 – including the $50,000 contingency – to the project. There was no discussion of allocating any additional funds to the project.

Remaining funds for the project will come from the Stadium Committee’s fundraising efforts or additional loans.

Committee President Earl Johnson said officials are looking at an additional loan to make the balance.

“The banks haven’t said no. But they haven’t said yes, either,” he said.

Board member John Marlow asked Johnson if the committee could capture funds in time to continue the project.

“Not unless those who committed step up,” Johnson said. “Major donors have not stepped up.

“We can raise the money to finish the project, but it has been a time crunch from day one.”