Lamar Bleacher Upgrade Decision Anticipated


Stadium Facing West


The Lamar Re-2 School Board should have a decision on the path they’ll take to reconstruct the bleachers at Thunder Stadium by its February 13th meeting.

Board members have been weighing a host of factors to arrive at the best potential outcome for renovations over the past year and held a January 16th work session with Nick Nemechek and Andy Fahrmeier of GMCN Architects in Garden City, KS.  Board members are factoring in the cost of the two options being considered, the construction timeline and potential impact to the future sports seasons, the longevity of the bleachers depending on their choice and how to best preserve the historical impact of the stadium wall.

The two choices are either a replacement of the bleachers or a retro-fit.  The board has considered including a partial demolition project to help determine the condition of the foundation under the bleachers so they can price their options from the deterioration, mostly from water damage over the years.  The general consensus was not to pay to piecemeal replacing wooden beams or support structures as opposed to a complete rebuild project, thereby extending the use of the new bleachers.

The original stadium was graded to have water run away from the street on the south side of the outer wall and into the field instead of draining into the road.  Sump pumps were supposed to have provided the required drainage to keep the water from under the bleachers and away from the stonework, but over the years the system was not kept up to date.

Another consideration in addition to potential seating numbers is how much of the original southern wall can be re-used to help preserve the historical value of the building which was constructed about 80 years ago.  The general answer at this point will be, as much as possible.  Board Director, Lanie Meyers-Mireles stated that the 2023 football season will not take place at the Merrill Brush Field, given the timeline for the project, but was concerned the construction impact would have on the inner track field as it will be upgraded this year.  The architects assured the board the project would essentially take place on the outside of the stadium.

(Editor’s Note:  Correction required.  Board Director Lanie Meyers-Mireles did not state the 2023 football season would not be held at the stadium, but did inquire with the engineering firm as to the potential impact to the track based on the options provided.)  I apologize for the error in her statement as well as the misspelling of her name in the article, now corrected.)

Superintendent, Dr. Chad Krug, said he’ll be making additional calls between now and the February meeting to determine the best outcome for the cost involved.  When asked about any historical funding the district could access, he replied that monies for this type of project are scarce and even if the board could be awarded top dollar in a best-case scenario, it would still take about eight years of funding applications and approvals to come close to current needs.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEducationFeaturedHistory


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