Board approves replacing bleachers at Arnold Field
The bleachers would be replaced with Perma-Planks, a vinyl covered piece of steel. The seats do not need to be replaced because they are aluminum.
However, the cost of replacing the bleachers and meeting the $36,000 difference was discussed at length. The district set aside $40,000 from Medi-Cal Administration Activities funding for the project.
Members of the Lassen High School football boosters were in attendance to voice their support for the project.
Lassen High School football coach Tom St. Jacques said the booster club has talked in depth about the project and if the board could give some money and get the project going, the boosters club would help any way it could , including the physical labor involved with replacing the bleachers.
St. Jacques said the booster club does not have money for the project at this time because money raised from fundraisers is earmarked for specific projects. But the booster club could hold a fundraiser specifically for the bleacher project.
The board directed LUHSD Chief Business Officer Debbie Fry to open a separate fund for the bleacher project and for the booster club to spearhead fundraising ideas and getting other school clubs and organizations involved in the project.
Board Trustee Karen Bradbury said raising money for the bleachers should be a school-wide effort. She suggested the booster club ask every club and organization in the school to host a fundraiser specifically for the bleachers.
Bradbury said there is a $36,000 shortfall, but the bleachers have to be replaced.
“I don’t see how we cannot repair them,” she said.
“Board President Ken Theobald said the option is to not repair the bleachers or close the bleachers down.
However, Theobald also made sure everyone knew where the district is financially and there are serious issues coming down the pipe.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a $4.8 billion cut in education and the district is in deficit spending.
Theobald said the district will be making some tough decisions in the next several months and there will be issues that come up in all the schools for the next several years.
“So spending $75,000 of money that might go to salaries or other things is really tough for me,” Theobald said.
“We don’t have the money, it’s not there,” he said.
According to Ratkey, the wood can’t withstand the weather and winds subject to this area. He said the bleachers are constantly being maintained and kept as safe as possible.
But he said something has to be done.
Ratkey contacted several bleacher manufacturers throughout the United States and only received one response from someone who could fulfill the requirements.
The booster club members and a community member stressed the bleachers are a liability and safety issue.
Art Davey, a member of the Color Guard, who presents the flags during home football games, was in attendance and said he has fallen twice on the stairs. He described the steps as uneven and hard to adjust to.
Diane St. Jacques said someone also fell through the bleachers last year.
Booster club member Michelle Zubillaga said the bleachers are a safety issue, not just for sports, but also for the school as a whole. She said the students use the bleachers for a variety of activities.
She also said one of her biggest concerns is during graduation when there are elderly grandparents trying to access bleachers that are very hazardous.
Booster club member Jason Bernard said he thought the liability and the possible outcome of someone being injured would financially outweigh what the district would spend on repairing the bleachers.
Bernard said he planned to contact the Lassen Youth Football organization asking for its assistance because it also utilizes the field.
Zubillaga said the community as a whole, is very supportive of the students and the high school.
“If it came down to where we would have to make up the difference through fundraising, I think the community would back this project,” she said.
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