WILLIAMS, Ariz. - When students return to Williams High School (WHS) this fall, they'll find new and improved bleachers in the gym and updated locker room areas.
The high school gym was built in 1953, and Williams Unified School District (WUSD) Athletic Director Phillip Echeverria believes the bleachers are about the same age.
WUSD Superintendent Rachel Savage said the bleachers were a high priority on the district's facility improvement list.
"The bleachers are original, broken in places, and the wood is warping," she said in an email. "It is next to impossible to find parts for them anymore and I believe they pose a safety hazard for students, as well as for the community."
The new plastic bleachers will seat 722 people and include eight Americans with Disabilities Act accessible seating areas. Although the new bleachers will seat about the same number of people as the old bleachers, Echeverria said the new set will have several advantages.
"It's just going to be an enclosed bleacher to where nothing can fall down below it," he said. "There'll be handrails to walk up and down with rows for safety features, which these don't have. And I think the row width we extended that and made it a little more comfortable to sit in."
The new bleachers will be black and orange to reflect the school colors. In addition, the new bleacher design calls for the elimination of the crow's nest. Instead, the scorekeeper and announcer will sit at a table on the gym floor between two sections of bleachers.
Officials hope the new bleachers will be installed during the first week of August. They cost $75,000, which came from the district's Forest Fees. The district receives money from the U.S. Forest Service because the national forest land within the district is tax exempt. A portion of the cost will also come from the Chamber's Harlem Ambassadors fundraising basketball game on May 4, although the amount is uncertain.
The district is looking into ways it might be able to recycle the metal and reuse some of the wood from the old bleachers. If officials can't find a use for it within the district, they may sell the wood to members of the community.
In addition to the bleachers, district staff is also working on improvements in both locker rooms. Although some minor repairs have been completed over the years, Savage said the locker rooms have been mostly neglected for decades.
One of the main improvements will be replacing the existing gang showers with five individual shower stalls in each locker room. In addition, the girls locker room will get an additional toilet for a total of three toilets and the boys locker room will get an additional toilet and urinal for a total of two each. Finally, officials hope to replace the wire mesh and plaster ceilings in both locker rooms.
District officials hope to complete the locker room construction for less than $100,000, which comes from the district's capital budget. Echeverria believes the improvements to the locker rooms will be money well spent.
"We're just trying to make it nice for the kids, and the district I think found a little money that we could invest in doing that," Echeverria said. "We don't want to do something that's only going to last for like five years or something. We hope it's going to be an adjustment that lasts for a good 20 years or so down the road."
Echeverria's goal is to finish at least one locker room by July 14, since football camp starts the following day.
Other improvements include relocating the washing machine and dryer to a storeroom in the boys locker room, moving the concession stand to the other side of the gym entrance where the laundry facilities used to be, and enlarging Echeverria's office and adding an entrance that is outside of the locker room.
In order to save money, the district is using existing staff to do some of the work on the bleachers and locker rooms, including Echeverria, WHS Principal Tristan Heisley, Williams Elementary-Middle School Principal Bryan Lords, and summer maintenance workers. Sub contractors will complete any remaining work.
"By completing most of the work with internal staff we are able to apply limited resources directly to the project," Savage said.
Echeverria agreed, saying that the students will benefit from the improvements.
"Obviously we don't have a whole lot of money," Echeverria said. "We don't want to waste any money. We want to put it into where the kids are going to see it and appreciate it. It'll be nice when we're done."
Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
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this town is hopeless
Oh yeah, they needed $6 million to repair the roof and the locker rooms. Oh wait, they are doing it all without that bond. Looks like the superintendent was confused on the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
And the bus lane that was promised a year ago still hasn't even seen a shovel hit the dirt. At least we have the electronic marquees to tell me to slow down!