Manson Northwest Webster getting new bleachers for H.S. gymnasium

By BRANDON

L. SUMMERS

bsummers@

messengernews.net

MANSON – Manson Northwest Webster Junior/Senior High School is getting new bleachers for its gymnasium.

According to Mark Egli, MNW Community School District superintendent, the upgrade is needed.

“We have for some time known that our bleachers are not in compliance with (the Americans with Disabilities Act) for safety,” he said. “We don’t have handrails and things like that, and they’re basically breaking down underneath the structure. We knew it was time to get them replaced.”

The MNW board of education on May 1 approved the bid of $101,767 from Seating and Athletic Facility Enterprises of Ellendale, Minn., for the project.

“It’s an Interkal telescoping bleacher,” Mike Jepson, MNW activities director, said. “It’s the newer style with basically a hard plastic … formed seat, rather than the old flat wood ones.”

Jepson described the project is “long overdue.”

“The bleachers are the originals, back when the school was built in ’72,” he said. “They’ve held up well. They’re still what you’d maybe call a good bleacher, but we don’t meet any of the modern day codes. Safety codes, especially.”

The new bleachers, Jepson said, will meet the ADA codes “100 percent.”

“That’s probably the driving force behind making the change. Plus, the repairs were beginning to mount up,” he said. “So to get the new bleachers that meet all the codes and specifications, and take away the repair bill, only made sense.”

Because of the configuration of the new bleachers, though, the high school will be losing 400 seats.

“That sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t,” Jepson said. “We’re going from what we claim to be 1,600 possible seating down to 1,200 possible seating. But if we need to, we would probably be able to get 1,300 to 1,400 in. Nowadays, you just don’t need that many seats. Your crowds just aren’t that big, even in your tournament games.”

The installation of the new bleachers will take place during Christmas break of the 2014-15 school year, Jepson said.

“They’ll start Dec. 22,” he said, “and it’s about an eight-working-day process to get out the old and put in the new.”