Grandstands at Memorial Field granted another year

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Looks like the old Memorial Field grandstands might have a little more life in them yet.

Sandpoint Parks and Recreation announced this week that demolition of the old grandstands and the construction of the new design will begin in autumn of next year. That’s the timeline recommended by contractors J.A. Sewell and Associates, which is handling conceptual and design work for the new grandstands.

A moment after the Bulldogs beat Rigby to go on to state. Photo by Beth Hawkins.

A moment after the Bulldogs beat Rigby to go on to state. Photo by Beth Hawkins.

According to Sandpoint Parks and Recreation Director Kim Woodruff, a more relaxed schedule will ensure thorough work by project planners without cutting into seasonal field use. A tight winter-spring demolition and construction schedule could result in problems or delays, ultimately interfering with sporting events or even high school graduations. By contrast, this schedule means Sandpoint High School’s football and soccer teams should enjoy a few home games early next fall.

“We don’t want to rob any of the user groups their time on the field this next season,” said Woodruff in a press release.

Rushing the project could also prevent local businesses from bidding on the project. What’s more, tight scheduling could require double shifts, which would boost costs and increase noise and inconvenience for the nearby residences.

The more relaxed schedule recommended by contractors allows planning to unfold until early March, at which point the City Council will review and approve final documents. In early April, the city will open a bid to select a construction contractor. Finally, by mid- to late- September, demolition of the existing stands will begin, with a completion date scheduled by May 2017.

For the past several years, the existing grandstands required reevaluation to ensure their safety for another year. According to Woodruff, engineers repeated that process this year and confirmed another year should be no problem.

Sandpoint may have to wait a little longer for the new grandstands, but Woodruff is confident they’ll be worth it. Thanks to conceptual work that expands capacity to 1,500 seats, improves durability and lowers maintenance costs, he’s excited for the possibilities that lay ahead.

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