GHS Cardinal Field Bleachers Should Be Shored Up In Time for First Home Football Game

Rich Fulton and Randy Caravella of the Greenwich Athletic Foundation with Gabby Caravella behind the supports erected under the 50 year old bleachers on the home team side of Cardinal field. Aug 27, 2019 Photo: Leslie Yager

This week at Greenwich High School workers have been busy shoring up the condemned bleachers at Cardinal Field.

On Tuesday afternoon the first of eight rows of supports were in place. As workers finished their day, the football and cheer squad filled the stadium to participate in media day.

Eddie Iuteri, Jack Warren, Evan Weigold, , Spencer Hartley and Callum Abernathy at Greenwich High School’s media day in Cardinal field. Aug 27, 2019

“This was a very simple solution to a long overdue problem,” said Rich Fulton of the Greenwich Athletic Foundation, after checking on the progress. “They’ll finish one of these rows of supports a day, so there’s eight more days to go.”

“Once this is done the Board of Education will hold a meeting in September to discuss whether they pursue their original plan B or the new plan we put forward with team rooms, concession stand and bathrooms underneath the bleachers,” Fulton added. “Our solution costs less.”

The Board of Education’s plan B would result in a 10,000 square foot, two-story field building with bathrooms, team rooms and concession stand as part of a three-phase plan costing close to $25 million.

Supports under the bleachers have rusted through. It’s possible to put a finger through them.

The district announced during April break that the bleachers were off limits.

Access to the bleachers was immediately roped off and blocked with plywood, and have been off limits since April.

The bleachers had had some remedial work and temporary shoring installed in 2016, but both the District’s engineer and the Town Building Department concurred that the 50 year old bleachers needed to be brought up to current building codes.

Back in 1970, when the high school on Hillside opened, the bleachers met the standard of 60 pounds per square foot. Currently, code requires that the structure hold 100 pounds per square foot.

The announcement of the bleachers being closed threw plans for the outdoor graduation tradition up in the air. (The district wound up renting 2,100 chairs and lining them up on the stadium’s turf, which was a gamble considering if it had rained the ceremony would have been moved inside anyway.)

Closed bleachers at Cardinal Field. Photo: Leslie Yager

Bleachers filled with families for a graduation ceremony in 2018. Photo: Leslie Yager

Home side bleachers in 1980s. Photo: Compass yearbook

This temporary fix will in place in time for the first home football game, which is against Danbury on Sept 14.

Members of the Greenwich Athletic Foundation Rich Fulton, Randy Caravella, Rob Burton and Rick Kral at the Board of Education meeting on July 25, 2019 Photo: Leslie Yager

Members of the Greenwich Athletic Foundation Rich Fulton, Randy Caravella, Rob Burton and Rick Kral at the Board of Education meeting on July 25, 2019 Photo: Leslie Yager

The temporary fix was paid for by the Greenwich Athletic Foundation.

Their $120,000 gift was accepted at a special meeting last month, and includes funds to lease the equipment for four months.

The vendor, Waco Scaffolding, based in Cheshire, CT, is a town approved vendor who passes the Board of Education standards and requirements.


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Materials for the project to support the bleachers at Cardinal field. Aug 27, 2019

The first completed row of supports to the bleachers at Cardinal field. Aug 27, 2019

Rusted section of steel support under home bleachers at Cardinal field. Aug 27, 2019. Photo: Leslie Yager

“This rental could be all the way through two years. There is no deadline,” said GAF member Rick Kral at that July meeting. “It is $6,200 a month to lease the equipment, and there is a lot of equipment.”

See also:

BOE Gratefully Accepts $120K Gift from Greenwich Athletic Foundation to Shore Up GHS Bleachers July 25, 2019

GHS Bleachers Condemned; Games and Graduation Plans TBD April 15, 2019