Parents get update on stadium repairs
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.
Boyertown Area Senior High School’s Memorial Stadium is closed while engineers explore the extent of structural problems discovered there.