By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
If everything goes according to plan, local football fans and players will have a renovated Blue Pony Stadium when the pigskin hits the gridiron this August.
At the Havre school board's semiannual planning workshop Monday night, Havre Public Schools Superintendent Kirk Miller presented the board with blueprints for the proposed renovations, estimated to cost between $655,000 and $679,000.
The board will vote whether to approve the plan at its regular school board meeting on Feb. 10. If the project is approved, it would probably go out to bid in March. Construction would start in May and the project would likely have a completion date in August, Miller told the board.
"We'll have plenty of seating. It'll be a much nicer facility; it'll be safe," he said.
The design, developed by Springer Group Architects of Bozeman, features expanded seating in new all-aluminum bleachers on the south and north sides of the field.
The project would expand the facility's seating from about 1,000 now to about 2,200, architect Doug Morley of Springer Group Architects said in a telephone interview this morning.
Under the plan, the new south bleachers would be nearly twice as tall and about 35 feet wider than the existing concrete-and-wood bleachers, expanding seating on the south from 700 to 1,500, Morley said.
The north bleachers would be the same height as the existing wooden bleachers to avoid obstructing the view from the parking spaces on the hill to the north of the field, but would also be about 35 feet wider, he said.
Both sets of bleachers would be about 7 feet closer to the field, he said.
Beneath the south bleachers would be two warming rooms for teams, and tunnels would provide direct access to the field from the warming rooms.
The existing warming hut will be used for storage and possibly as a refuge for referees at halftime, Miller said.
The project also includes new men's and women's bathrooms east of the field.
Morley said the plans were influenced by recent meetings with a stadium committee put together by the school district.
Miller said the project will be paid for by a combination of the district's building reserve funds and contributions from private and corporate donors.
The south bleachers, estimated to cost $308,000, and the $160,000 warming rooms will come out of the building reserve, he said. In May voters approved a levy to raise $740,000 over four years to pay for renovations to the stadium and the high school auditorium, and to install new windows and insulation at Havre High School.
Miller told the board he will recommend borrowing some money from the building reserve so the entire project can be done in one year.
By May there will be an estimated $791,000 in the high school's building reserve, according to the district.
The $111,000 north bleachers and the restrooms, estimated to cost between $75,000 and $100,000, will be paid for by a combination of corporate sponsor revenues, car parking fees, money paid by Montana State University-Northern to use the field, and the money raised by the Havre Public Schools Education Foundation.