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Work begins on Whitney Field visitors bleachers

By JOE CENTERS • Oct 3, 2019 at 10:00 AM

Workers have been on site this week at Whitney Field installing the new visitors bleachers.

Dant Clayton, a Louisville, Ky. company, was expected to replace the bleachers this summer for $118,720, which will be paid through the permanent improvement fund. The Norwalk City Schools board of education approved the project in March, so it would be complete by the time football season started.

But some complications forced the work to be postponed and the bleachers were not ready for the start of the season. Instead, Dant Clayton provided temporary bleachers for the first five weeks of the season.

Norwalk and St. Paul both are on the road this week — the Truckers at Bellevue and the Flyers at Mapleton. Both are home next weekend, as the Truckers entertain Sandusky on Oct. 11 and the Flyers host South Central the next day.

A worker at the site Wednesday afternoon said the job should be completed by Sunday, weather permitting. He talked as rain began to fall in Norwalk.

The key is getting the job and the inspected before next weekend. When Norwalk replaced its home stands, the work didn’t pass inspection until the day of the 2017 season opener when the Truckers hosted Willard.

There are 10 rows and 771 seats in the visitors stands, said the job foreman from Dant Clayron. There are an eight handicapped-accessible and eight companion seats for 787 total. The previous bleachers held about 750 people.

“We hope to have them done by Sunday and inspected Monday. We already have that scheduled,” said Corey Ream, director of operations for Norwalk City Schools.

“Looking at the schedule we felt this was the time to do it,” he added.

There was talk of holding off until after the season, but “considering both teams have the possibility of hosting a playoff game,” Ream said it was the right thing to do.

Ream said he didn’t get any complaints about the temporary bleachers and “I don’t think at any point in time people were out of seats.”

This is a positive step in the Whitney Field improvement project.

“I would kind of consider this Phase 2,” Ream said. “Phase 1 was the lights. Phase 2 was the bleachers and Phase 3 is the field and track.”

Will there be a new turf and track for the 2020 season?

“Still the goal,” Ream said. “I am still confident we can make that happen.”

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