Latham Associates found that the 64-year-old stadium is sound, but in need of some masonry work and other improvements, said Dan Payant, operations director for county schools.
“They said the stadium is structurally sound, which is good news,” he said. “But it needs some masonry work on the end walls to repair loose bricks, and they were also concerned about some cracks in the concrete awnings on the front of the stadium, so we are removing those before the game this week.”
Orange safety fencing has been set up along the side stairways of the city owned stadium, which is shared between Sylacauga and B.B. Comer high schools, to block the areas with loose bricks, and starting today, workers will be taking down the concrete awnings.
“We didn’t want to take any chances with the cracks in the awnings,” Payant said. “The fence is just a safety precaution to keep people from leaning on the rails. Those were the two most immediate needs, and then once the season is over, we will work on the masonry.”
After football season, hand rails down the left and right sides will be refabricated with breaks to prevent the brick from loosening again, Payant said.
“With the hot and cold weather, the wall expands and contracts, so it naturally loosens the brick over time,” he said. “The mason will come in and cut it up with some breaks in the railing so there is space for it to expand. It’s a pretty easy fix.”
While the county system is contracting the work, Payant said they are working with the city and city schools to get the projects done.
The assessment and subsequent repairs were prompted because the city is once again in talks to deed the property to the city and county schools, an idea that has been considered for years.
“If they did deed it to the school systems, we wanted to know what kind of shape it’s in,” Payant said.
Mayor-elect Doug Murphree said the city will meet with county and city schools to work out an ownership solution soon after he takes office.
“We want to talk with both school systems and explore all of our options,” he said. “Whatever we do, it will be an agreement that both Comer and Sylacauga will like.”
In April, the City Council met with representatives from the schools and expressed that it was interested in deeding the stadium over because of insurance liability and funding for capital repairs to the structure. Murphree said there is no longer a need for the city to own the stadium.
“The city needs to be out from under it, so it’s just a matter of getting with everybody’s attorneys and administrators and working something out, so that’s what we’re going to do,” Murphree said.
The football match-up between Sylacauga and B.B. Comer high schools is at Legion Stadium this Friday.
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