January 28, 2008

State College Area School District
Office of Physical Plant
Ed Poprik, Director

To: Board of School Directors

From: Ed Poprik

RE: Memorial Field Project - Update

Date: January 28, 2008

Recommend that the Board of School Directors take action on authorizing the development of design documents for the Memorial Field, West Side (Visitor) bleacher project. It is further recommended that the Board choose from one of four conceptual plans, which were presented at the January 14, 2008 meeting. Selecting a conceptual direction will allow the design professionals to further develop the chosen option, allowing for refinement of the project estimates and calendar.

On January 14, 2008, four conceptual options were presented to the Board regarding options for a 2008 project on Memorial Field (attached). Based on requests and questions from various Board Members regarding Option B, temporary seating options have been explored. These options were developed based on the outcome of preliminary meetings between district personnel, the design team, the State College Borough staff, and the Centre Region Code Authority. Like the options presented for the project, these scenarios are conceptual in nature and further work will be required to develop a final solution after the Board selects a direction for this project. Each of these is applicable to Option B only. It is also important to note that while we can “recapture” lost seating, we cannot increase the seating capacity due to impacts this would have on “Code” and “Accessibility” issues.

A wide variety of options were examined and evaluated. While considered, a series of options that included installation of temporary or permanent bleachers on the currently unused embankment surrounding the stadium have not been presented for consideration. The initial logic of these options seemed to merit preliminary investigation; however, several concerns reduced their viability as a potential solution. Because these embankments are currently not developed, land development approvals would be required for this type of endeavor. The timeline required for development of plans, and the approvals of this type of project, make implementation for the 2008 football season unfeasible. In addition, stormwater management considerations, accessibility, and impact on some of the existing stone retaining walls are deterrents to the pursuit of this strategy.

The only options that emerged as being feasible, in terms of cost and timing, were related to the temporary installation of bleachers in Central Parklet. These are presented below as sub-options to B:
Option Features Cost
B1 No temporary seating, originally
presented as Option B
$50,000 to $75,000
B2 Purchase (or move) small portable
bleachers to Central Parklet on a
per game basis
$55,000 to $90,000
B3 Purchase larger, portable,
bleachers for temporary
deployment in Central Parklet
$90,000 to $125,000
(Year 1)

As with the project options, these seating recovery options are conceptual in nature. They are offered to aid in consideration of Option B and need further development to establish feasibility and more sophisticated cost estimates. Based on several initial meetings and preliminary investigation the following analysis has been developed:

Option B1 involves closing the southern most section of bleachers as defined in Option B and not replacing the 282 “lost” seats. There would be no additional cost beyond the initial estimate of $50,000-$75,000.

Option B2 involves either purchasing or “borrowing” a series of four short, 3-row, bleacher sections, and installing them in Central Parklet on a per game basis. This strategy has been tried in the past and largely not utilized by spectators presumably due to poor visibility, separation from the stadium and tendency of other spectators to stand in this area.

Some very preliminary discussions regarding the “closure” of Central Parklet during home football games have occurred and may improve the future success of an option such as this; however, this would require Borough approval and has not yet been formalized as a viable plan. Based on the width available within the Parklet, four 21-foot sections could be installed to accommodate about 160 spectators.

The cost to purchase these units would be approximately $6,000 new. In addition, costs could be expected for movement of these units for each game and additional crowd control in this area. Considering that the scope of this option would vary dependent on the number of games accommodated, the final solution could dictate the movement of already existing bleachers or the purchase of new units. As this variable would have impact of the final investment, a range of total costs from $5,000 to $15,000 has been estimated for this portion of the solution. This would then be then added to the base cost for Option B, yielding a total cost of $55,000 to $90,000.

Option B3 would be to purchase larger, 10-row bleacher systems for temporary installation in Central Parklet. Because movement of these bleachers would be difficult and time consuming, they would need to be installed on the opposite side of the bike path for an entire season. Visibility from this location is limited at eye-levels below six feet; therefore, these units would need to be elevated approximately three feet to allow for acceptable visibility from the bottom rows. All 282 seats could be recovered in this option; however, formal approvals from the State College Borough would be required for this type of intrusion into the space.

Purchase of these types of units and installation of piers to elevate them has been estimated at $35,000 to $40,000. Another $5,000 to $10,000 could be expected for mobilization, assembly, and removal of these systems, yielding a total cost for a single season of $40,000 to $50,000. When added to the base cost for Option B, this sub-option ranges from $90,000 to $125,000 for the first season. Additional, incrementally smaller, costs could be expected for each subsequent season.

Several overriding concerns surfaced in the analysis of temporary seating in Central Parklet:
-Limited previous success in seating spectators in the Parklet
-The uncertainty of formal approvals for seating in the Parklet
-The investment in time and materials for temporary bleachers

Due to these mitigating factors, it seems prudent to consider Options B and C as originally presented. In other words, if the seating capacity is considered to be absolutely required, Option C seems to be the most palatable solution. If the seating capacity is considered to be expendable, Option B seems more reasonable. If Option B were chosen, temporary seating options could be pursued and refined; however, some uncertainty remains regarding the feasibility, suitability, and cost, making the temporary seating uncertain at this point.