April start date set for Golden Eagle stadium

The old home-side bleachers at Madison-Plains High School have seen their last football game, track meet, soccer match and marching band performance.

On March 18, the Madison-Plains Board of Education voted to advertise for bids for the construction of new bleachers and a press box for the athletic complex on Linson Road. The materials are to be delivered in April and the project complete by August.

To date, the Golden Eagle Complex Renovation Committee, a non-profit group formed in 2006, has raised $11,000 in cash and $140,000 in pledges for the project. The group’s goal is to cover the total cost, which they estimate to be $200,000, entirely through donations.

Many of the pledges will be paid over a four-year period. Meanwhile, the cost of the project is escalating as the cost of aluminum goes up. Wayne Holland, a member of the committee, noted that the cost of the project has increased $9,000 in just the last six weeks.

To stave off further expense, the committee asked the school board to lend them money to start the project. The agreement is that the committee will repay the district in full as pledges are honored.

The new bleachers will be green, seat 1,200 to 1,300 people, and will be handicap accessible. They will be made of aluminum with a scaffolding construction and seats and steps that are fully enclosed. They will sit on a concrete pad, a few feet closer to the road to allow future expansion of the track, but otherwise in the same place as the current stands.

Originally, the committee aspired to raise enough money to build an I-beam stadium like the one at London High School, but the cost is more than twice that of the scaffolding option, said committee member Steve Adams. The main advantage of the I-beam construction is that locker rooms or enclosed storage areas could be built under the seating.

Grove City Christian School on Hoover Road has a scaffold-style stadium identical to the one the Madison-Plains committee wants to build. Adams and other committee members traveled to the school to check it out and said they were impressed.

In addition to choosing the more economical style of stadium, the committee plans to save money by using volunteer labor to erect it. Holland and Dave Joslin, district residents who own construction companies, will lead the effort. A supervisor from the company that supplies the materials will be on site to be sure the work meets warranty requirements.

The committee also decided to keep the same location for the bleachers because the necessary wiring and electricity are already in place. Originally, their plan was to get Madison-Plains fans out of the wind by putting the home stands on the opposite side of the field.

With a specific construction plan in place and the backing of the board, the committee will begin collecting the first phase of pledge money. Adams said the committee declined to collect on pledges until they had a plan in place that they knew would become reality. The committee also will continue to seek pledges for the $50,000 they don’t yet have covered.

“We have not exhausted all of our collection efforts at all,” said Adams, who is confident the committee will reach its $200,000 goal.

“When people see that stadium being built, they’re going to want to be donating even more,” he said.

For more information about the Golden Eagle Complex Renovation Committee and the stadium project, contact Madison-Plains High School Principal Chris Clark at 740-852-0364.

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