By Phoebe Roe
After failing to meet state code, the bleachers at McBride Field are getting a facelift — for a sticker price of $550,000.
The renovation became necessary after the bleachers failed inspection last year. Kenyon hired a construction company and planned for construction to begin just after Christmas in 2013.
“They met code in maybe 1962 — if there was a code in 1962 — but they don’t meet it now,” said Justin Newell, assistant athletic director and director of the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC).
Issues arose when the original bleachers were demolished and found to have more problems than previously expected. To deal with the existing issues, the bleachers had to be redesigned and those new designs had to be approved by the state — a lengthy process.
After the new plans had been approved, problems continued when the temperature started to drop — and drop and drop.
“The weather this winter has been brutal,” Newell said. “You can’t pour concrete in cold weather.”
With the unforeseen issues and bad weather, what was initially estimated to be a five-week project turned into a three-month ordeal.
At this point, the bleachers are expected to be finished no later than April 5.
“[Running late is] a fairly common construction thing,” Newell said. “That’s an understatement; it would be weird if someone would finish on time.”
The new bleachers feature purple highlights, and administrators hope they will help attract more of a fanbase than the Lords and Ladies have seen in the past.
“We were coming off of two seasons of 0-20, we got a new football coach, started seeing some success and now we’re starting to change the culture around here to try to create some fan atmosphere,” Newell said.
The bleachers come at the same time as two additional new KAC features: hand scanners at varsity locker room entrances and a “golf room,” which allows golfers to practice indoors on a converted racquetball court.