GAF Petition for ‘Under the Bleachers’ Design Plan F Grows, Athletes to Attend BOE Meeting

Plan F might look something like this.

2017 GHS graduation. Photo: Leslie Yager

Greenwich High School Cardinal Stadium “Under the Bleacher” designs will be discussed and a decision is likely to be made at the Nov 21 Board of Education meeting.

The Greenwich Athletic Foundation submits that GHS student athletes need a safe, updated and ADA accessible stadium, and have pledged to raise $1,000,000 to support Plan F, an “Under the Bleachers” design that would replace the bleachers, push them forward, add bathrooms underneath them and replace the light fixtures on the existing poles. Plan F would also include an elevator and press box, which is required in order to host football games.

Documents presented at the Oct 17 BOE meeting included a range of options labeled A through G. (Documents on the costs and options are available online.)

The GAF also launched an online petition urging the BOE to support and proceed with Plan F.

As of Friday morning the petition was very close to 3,000.

“This is the most sensible, cost effective, timely solution to our currently ‘shored up’ 50 year old + bleachers on the main field that our largest sporting events and graduation are held in,” the petition states.


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“The petition has been a game changer,” said Richard Fulton of the GAF on Thursday. “While we’ve reached tens of thousands of people in the last three years, this has accelerated the momentum and finally given student athletes a true voice.”

The GAF said they expect a good turn out of athletes and their parents at the Nov 21 BOE meeting.

The idea is for a show of support for better sports facilities.

The meeting will be held at Greenwich High School starting at 7:00pm.


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“We look forward to forming a building committee and expediting replacement of the bleachers in Cardinal Stadium through the town’s land use and permitting process,” Fulton said. “We plead with all the town departments to try to fast track this project.”


Supports under the bleachers have rusted through. It’s possible to put a finger through them. Aug 27, 2019 Photo: Leslie Yager

The bleachers were condemned during spring break last April when the district determined they were not up to code.

At the time the bleachers were built, it appears they were built to a standard of 60 pounds per square foot.

Currently, code requires that the structure hold 100 pounds per square foot.

There is significant rust, and in spots the steel has rusted through.

 

Without use of bleachers for GHS graduation of the class of 2019, the district rented 2,100 chairs. June 17, 2019 Photo: Leslie Yager

The bleachers at Cardinal Stadium were condemned in April 2019. Photo: Leslie Yager

The bleachers are old but they weren't always in their current location. GHS was built on wetlands before the Wetlands Act passed in 1972 and the fields were often under water. Students in the 1970s joked about bringing flippers for outdoor PE class. In 1976 a helicopter lifted the bleachers and flew them up the hill to their current location.

The GHS bleachers are old but they weren’t always in their current location. GHS was built on wetlands before the Wetlands Act passed in 1972 and the playing fields were often under water. Students in the 1970s joked about bringing flippers to outdoor PE class. In 1976 a helicopter lifted the bleachers and flew them up the hill to their current location. Photo: Compass Yearbook 1976

Just in time for the school year the Greenwich Athletic Foundation’s gift of $120,000 for scaffolding to shore up the bleachers was accepted by the BOE.

The gift, enough to install and rent scaffolding through the end of the fall sports season, also covers dismantling when the district is ready to demolish the storied bleachers.

The rent for the scaffolding is $6,200 a month, and GAF is paying that fee through Dec 1, 2019.