Grandstand repairs eyed

WOODSFIELD – Costs for repairing the grandstand at the Monroe County Fairgrounds were eyed Monday during the county commissioners’ meeting, and input on the proposed work is being sought from the public.

The destructive windstorm of June 2012 removed a section of the grandstand’s roof.

John Ackerman and Tracy Truax of the Monroe County Fair Board indicated the board wants input from residents before taking any action.

The report on the structural inspection of the grandstand was received from Matthew Brake, professional engineer, of Swiss Valley Associates.

Noting they were in favor of saving the grandstand, commissioners indicated they are concerned about the costs. While expressing their opinions in favor of keeping the grandstand, they indicated they were going to look into financial help for the work.

Brake reported replacement of all the concrete and wood columns with pre-manufactured steel columns and X-bracing is recommended for the structure.

“There are 44 columns with lengths varying 9 feet to 24 feet. Allstate Tower, custom steel fabrication company, estimated cost of the materials for steel columns and bracing to be between $100,000 and $150,000,” he noted.

Brake went on to report that based on steel building erection costs, labor for erecting the steel is approximately two-thirds the cost of materials. Estimated labor costs to replace the columns with steel is $66,000 to $100,000.

He also reported one possible temporary measure to prevent deterioration of the rebar in the concrete columns is to inject epoxy into the cracks at the base of the columns, hammer off the broken concrete at the tops of the columns, install new horizontal I-beams and pour concrete caps on the columns. Cost of this work is estimated to be about $75,000.

“Since the existing structure does not meet the loading requirements for new grandstands, it is recommended that the seating capacity be limited to one-third of the design seating capacity,” noted Brake. “A yearly inspection of the structure should be conducted to identify and replace any deteriorated seating boards, siding and railings. The damaged roof section must also be repaired to protect the wood seating area from weather.”

When telling about last year’s derecho, Brake said that possible movement of the supporting structure was reportedly noticed in the doors that didn’t open as they did formerly. Also, the concrete foundation and supporting columns indicate cracking that could be due to stress on the structure.

The engineer described the grandstand as “one of the historic icons in the county,” and its spacious covered seating has served well in providing an excellent view of the track for spectators.

He also noted that improvements and repairs have been performed over the years on the grandstand, which not only has seating but whose lower level is mostly open space. In addition, there is a small stage or platform at the front of the structure.

In other matters during Monday’s meeting, County Engineer Lonnie Tustin was present for a bid opening regarding liquid asphalt. It was decided to obtain the liquid asphalt from Asphalt Materials, Marietta, the sole bidder.

Commissioners approved a motion to partner with the sheriff’s office in the cost of the Are You OK? program (sometimes written as R-U-O-K?). This is a telephone reassurance program for older adults and anyone who is disabled, handicapped or homebound.

Two executive sessions were held with no action being taken after either one.

One was with Sheriff Charles R. Black Jr. and Prosecuting Attorney James L. Peters in regard to courthouse security and jail issues while other executive session was with County Auditor Pandora Neuhart about pending litigation.

The meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.