Braves’ stadium getting upgrade



Blevins Memorial Stadium is set to receive a major facelift later this year.

The home stands of the stadium, built in 1964 when Brownstown Central High School was constructed and football was reinstated, will be torn down and replaced with either aluminum frame bleachers or an I-beam structure.

Tim Stamm, business development representative with EMCOR Construction Services of Indianapolis, presented the grandstand options during a recent board of trustees meeting.

The board has to pick one of the options and then consider adding specialties, including accent color, accent pattern, enclosures and wind screens or banners.

Once Stamm has that information, he will be able to calculate the cost. School officials estimate it will be around $550,000.

Stamm said trustees are invited to visit schools with aluminum frame and I-beam grandstands so they can determine what will best suit Brownstown. Superintendent Greg Walker said he will set a special meeting sometime before the February board meeting so more details can be shared.

Stamm said it takes about four months for the final engineering, lead time and installation, so final decisions need to be made by mid-February.

The seating capacity for the new stadium will be 1,131, which adds about 100 seats. That will include 10 spots for wheelchairs and 10 companion seats. The current stadium is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A new press box also will be included. It will be 10 feet tall and 30 feet long and include a rooftop filming platform with a 42-inch-high perimeter guardrail.

The aluminum frame bleachers would be similar to the stadium’s current visitor seating. It would have a tube and channel understructure. Stamm said it’s less expensive and could be accentuated with front riser boards, but it wouldn’t have an option for storage underneath. The current stadium has space for equipment storage.

The I-beam structure is more aesthetically pleasing but about 30 percent higher in cost, Stamm said. It has a clear span underneath that would allow for storage if desired and could be accentuated with color.

“It’s 99 percent airtight, so storage certainly would be possible down there,” Stamm said.

Both options would have three ways to enter and exit — on each end and through a vomitorium in the middle. The vomitorium would lead to a sidewalk, but the remainder of the open area underneath the grandstand could either be paved or graveled.

Color schemes can be accentuated on only the aisles or only the seating sections. Color custom patterns also are an option.

Other possible additions for the I-beam structure include enclosure panels, wind screens and banners, which would all come at extra costs. The wind screens would help cut down wind from hitting spectators, Stamm said. Those can be accentuated with the school’s logo or images.

Besides not being handicap-accessible, the current stadium has other issues.

There aren’t railings up the middle of the stairs, and rubber mats on each step can be slippery and cause someone to fall.

On the back of the stadium, the concrete blocks above a garage door are deteriorating. And underneath the stadium, cracks in the concrete walls allow water to get into the area. In one place, water gets into an electrical box.

The safety concerns are being addressed as part of a $7.5 million project taking place this year at the high school.

Other athletics-related projects will include repaving, resurfacing and restriping the track; replacing, painting and striping the tennis courts; and replacing the seating in the main gymnasium.

All of the athletics projects are estimated to cost $1,062,460.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements are expected to cost $5,728,835, while electrical upgrades are projected to cost $420,244. The soft costs are expected to be $288,461.

During a board meeting in October, it was announced that the HVAC work would being this spring, the athletics safety upgrades would start in the summer and the project would be substantially completed by the fall.

EMCOR has been in charge of the project since the school corporation awarded a guaranteed energy savings contract to the firm in March.

A guaranteed energy savings contract is an agreement between a qualified provider and a building owner to reduce the energy and operating costs of a building or a group of buildings by a specified amount. Indiana Code allows these contracts for schools, libraries, municipal water or wastewater utilities operated by a political subdivision and other governing bodies.

EMCOR will do 85 percent of the work, while the remaining 15 percent will be done by subcontractors. The corporation will be allowed to choose local contractors to do some of that work.

The contract is the design/build model. Walker said that was chosen because of issues in recent years with build/spec contracts, where specifications are bid out and a project is awarded to the lowest bidder.

With the design/build process, a company designs and builds a project, and the customer pays the exact cost of labor and material.

The board tried to address the HVAC, athletics and electrical issues and other projects in 2012-13, but taxpayers weren’t in favor of the $24 million price tag. Since then, school officials have worked to break the needs down and address them a little at a time.

Damian Maggos, senior vice president of George K. Baum and Company in Indianapolis, determined what could be done to address the needs at the high school without raising property taxes.

No cuts were made to prevent property taxes from going up. The corporation is just taking advantage of debt falling off to make improvements, said Jade Peters, the corporation’s business manager.

In 2025, debt from work done at the middle and elementary schools in 2010 and at the high school in 2014 will be paid off. The corporation will have more than $300,000 come from the debt service fund from 2018 to 2024. It will jump to nearly $650,000 in 2025, and then remain at $835,000 from 2026 to 2036.

During that time, the debt service rate will not go above 30 cents.

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