Football fans may not have to wait as long as expected to enjoy the Williamstown Yellow Jackets in the comfort of new bleachers.
According to Williamstown High School assistant principal and athletic director Jeff Givens, the project is on target to be completed in a few weeks and is about two-thirds completed.
"We may get the bleachers sooner than I thought, somewhere in middle August," he said.
Of course, how quickly the new seating will be finished may depend a lot on the community.
The 40-year-old bleachers were closed in late March after an inspection by Pickering Associates of Parkersburg raised some concerns over safety. Community members helped to dismantle part of the dilapidated structure in about two days, according to Givens. The wooden platform where spectators put their feet needs to be put back in place following the construction work by Grae-Con Construction of Marietta.
"We are working on the structural steel and concrete modifications to the bleachers and our portion of the work should be completed in about two weeks," said Edgar Dodds with Grae-Con.
Williamstown project at a glance
Original bleachers installed in 1972.
Estimated cost to repair bleachers: $120,000
Bleachers expected to be completed by mid-August.
First home game Sept. 14.
Sue Woodward, assistant superintendent of school services for Wood County Schools, said the help from the community and the cooperation from the engineer, construction company, school board and county have been instrumental in moving the project along.
"Grae-Con is doing a wonderful job keeping us on track and on budget," she said. "They know that every step they take has to be done safely and cost-effectively."
By the community pitching in to remove and dispose of the wood, the board saved roughly $32,000.
"The price to have (a company) come in and do that was astronomical," Woodward said.
Working to replace that wood and add some paint to spruce it up would require the community to again pitch in.
"We want to see what we can do through the community to enhance the look," said Woodward. "It's wonderful that Williamstown is a community that is willing to step up and to say 'How can I help?'"
In the meantime, pee-wee football parents are relegated to the visitor bleachers while the work continues, something Givens suspects won't have to happen when varsity football starts up.
"We have a scrimmage scheduled for Aug. 11 and I doubt we will have both sides ready but I am extremely confident we'll be done by Sept. 14, our first home game," he said.