Par­ents get up­date on sta­dium re­pairs

The Boyertown Area Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

De­ci­sions about the fall sports sea­son at Boyertown High School will prob­a­bly have to wait un­til at least May, a group of par­ents was told at a March 27 meet­ing.

The oc­ca­sion was a meet­ing of the Boyertown Area School Board’s Fa­cil­i­ties Com­mit­tee.

There, a stand­ing-room-only au­di­ence was pro­vided with an out­line of what the dis­trict has done since the po­ten­tial struc­tural prob­lems were first re­ported in Jan­uary; and what steps re­main to get the sta­dium, track and foot­ball field back into full use again.

It can’t come soon enough for the par­ents of Boyertown ath­letes.

“I have a high school se­nior

who wants to play foot­ball on that field just as much as I want to sit in my fa­vorite seat and watch him,” said par­ent Alisha Mathias, her voice crack­ing with emo­tion. “We’ve been wait­ing for this year for a long time.”

“I hope you un­der­stand why it’s im­por­tant that we are all here and why we want an­swers,” said Made­line Caraselli.

The sta­dium was closed as the re­sult of a Jan. 30 re­port by Barry Isett & As­soc., which did the ini­tial Jan. 9 as­sess­ment of the sta­dium and found mul­ti­ple struc­tural and safety prob­lems, nearly all of which are as­so­ci­ated with wa­ter pen­e­trat­ing the su­per­struc­ture of the 33-year-old sta­dium.

The board sub­se­quently agreed to spend $16,000 with the firm for a more com­plete re­port and sug­ges­tions fixes. An up­date on that in­ves­ti­ga­tion is sched­uled to be pro­vided by Tom Slowik, the firm’s se­nior foren­sic en­gi­neer, at the April 10 school board meet­ing.

The fi­nal re­port is due the week of April 23 and will be for­mally pre­sented at the May 1 fa­cil­i­ties com­mit­tee meet­ing. Ac­tion on “a path for­ward” could fol­low at the May 8 school board meet­ing, ac­cord­ing to a time­line handed out by Fa­cil­i­ties Com­mit­tee Chair­man David Lewis.

Sub­se­quent steps would in­clude ad­ver­tis­ing for bids, fol­lowed by a month dur­ing which the board must legally wait be­fore open­ing bids and a fi­nal de­ci­sion on how to move for­ward.

“So re­al­is­ti­cally, we can’t de­cide on an op­tion un­til the end of May” when bids would be opened, said Lewis.

“The un­known for us is what will be re­quired?” said Board Vice Pres­i­dent Steve Elsier. “Will it take 30 days or six months? We don’t know.”

And that’s why, said Ath­letic Di­rec­tor Nick Pal­ladino, he has not made any an­nounce­ments about the fall sports sea­son.

“I have a cou­ple of con­tin­gency plans, but I’m hold­ing back un­til I know when we can get in there,” he said.

The board has al­ready voted to move grad­u­a­tion to San­tander Area in Read­ing be­cause its un­known if the sta­dium would be avail­able by June.

Pal­ladino said he has made other changes.

The track team prac­tices there, but only on the in­side lanes, and all other spring sports events that might have been held in the sta­dium are now away games, he said.

The track team’s se­nior recog­ni­tion day will be held at the sta­dium at Owen J. Roberts High School, Pal­ladino said.

“If we can hold even one event in that sta­dium, we will” Pal­ladino said.

Par­ent Elise Watts urged the board “to com­mu­ni­cate as much as you can. Say­ing we don’t know yet, cre­ates chaos” and ru­mors on Face­book and the In­ter­net, she said.

The dis­trict has since posted an up­date with the time line on the dis­trict’s web page.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Boyertown Area Se­nior High School’s Me­mo­rial Sta­dium is closed while en­gi­neers ex­plore the ex­tent of struc­tural prob­lems dis­cov­ered there.

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