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Bridgeport BOE approves bid for Perkins Field project

BRIDGEPORT — It’s been three long seasons since Bridgeport High School has played a football game on the natural grass surface at Perkins Field inside of Bill Jobko Stadium in Brookside. However, that may change later this season.

Plans to revitalize the century-old stadium are under way as the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District’s Board of Education unanimously approved a contract to begin work so that permanent bleachers can be installed on the home side.

The 5-member panel accepted the bid of 4 from Dant Clayton of Louisville, Ky. during a special board meeting Thursday night. It was one of five bids received by the board, none of which were local.

“We’re happy with the bids,” Superintendent of Schools Brent Ripley said.

“The geotechnical study came back and the company had to go a little deeper. When they got down to about 13-25 feet they discovered clay, sand and gravel that was brown and with loose soils,” Ripley explained. “That may explain some of the cracking in the foundation of the old bleachers, so I think the board was very pro-active in having those bleachers demolished. They were a safety hazard and this report clearly shows that.

“I know it (the demolition) was a tough thing for the community to see when the grandstands did come down, but safety-wide, that’s the best thing we could’ve done. It may have saved us from a huge problem down the road.”

Years of neglect after numerous floods resulted in some of the dirt under the 100-year-old covered grandstands being washed away by raging waters, some of which surpassed the 10-foot crossbar on the goalposts. The mostly wooden, covered, grandstands were razed several years ago.

“They also found groundwater under there at 13-25 feet.”

The study also revealed that the soil used as a base for the grandstands probably wasn’t the best for the project at the time.

“I’m glad that we had the study performed,” Ripley said.

Moving forward, he said the new bleachers would have to be re-inforced into the ground some way.

“We’re going to have to install some piers underground so that the bleachers can be attached to them some how,” he added. “So when, not if, the next floods come, we want to make sure they don’t buckle and the ground is safe.”

“That’s our goal right now. We need to get a game down there for not only the kids, but the community and alumni,” he said. “We’ll see what happpens.”

A start date for the project is yet to be set, Ripley said.

SHP Architects and Engineers of Cincinnati performed the geotechnical study. They had been selected by the board at a previous meeting.

One contract was for the planning and preparation. The other was for bleachers and a press box.

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