KEARNEY — Visitors to Kearney High School’s stadium complex are seeing many changing sites as construction crews work this summer to complete remodeling and expansion of Bulldog stadium, located at 715 E. 19th St. Work includes creation of a promenade effect between the new high school gymnasium and the football stadium with new and improved pedestrian access with Americans With Disabilities Act sidewalks with handrails along better access throughout the stadium.
Work to date
Joel Smith of construction management firm Universal Construction said lots of projects have gotten underway in recent weeks.
“We have footings going in for the fan store; the elevator pit, not super exciting but important to the project,” he said in late June. “We have retaining walls going in on the east and west ends of the stadium.”
In addition to retaining walls, elevator structures and footings being installed, recent work includes deck steel installation, demolition of the old press box structure and underground utility work. The school board also approved bids for landscaping at the end of June with work taking an estimated four days to complete per the low bidder, True North Outdoor. Landscaping includes planting of more than 50 junipers and installation of rip rap, river rock and sod.
“The biggest thing and most important thing is that the expediting of getting the bleacher steel … managed to come together as we had hoped,” said DLR Group Regional Engineering Leader Rod Oathout. Because the bleachers are a major component of the project and take months to manufacture and ship to the site, project timelines were contingent on the bleacher work being completed in late spring with remaining work around the installation of seating to be completed on time.
“The best part is, our schedule didn’t change that much. I think we tried to prep in the event that was changed and there was a setback, but I think we are past that concern,” Oathout said.
By the end of July, according to a milestone list given to the Board of Education in late June, crews hope to have elevated decking and roofing started and the new press box structure up and beginning to be closed in. Projected completion date for all work is the end of August, in time for the football team’s first home game.
Smith said heavy rain and inclement weather late in the spring resulted in use of 12 of the 15 budgeted weather delay days.
“Since out last meeting, we’ve had five weather days. Even though it’s been very wet, we have been able to get a lot of stuff done. The planned weather days were 15, so no more rain please,” he said at the June 26 school board meeting.
Despite heavy rain in late spring, Superintendent Bill Nicely said he believes the project will be completed on time.
“Things are looking good,” he said Tuesday, July 9. “... As of today, the steel for the press box is in place and the press box concrete floor is/has been poured. Steel for the bleachers has also been delivered and is in the process of being put in place. Aluminum seating is scheduled to arrive later this week.”