Bleacher bids for stadium due

Mike James, The Independent

ASHLAND — Time is running out for hiring a contractor to install bleachers at a restored Putnam Stadium in time for the first Ashland Tomcats football game in August, which is why school officials are nervously awaiting the opening on Monday of bids for the project.

The school board is meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday to review the bids and is expected to hire a contractor at the meeting.

The construction window is short — the project will have to be “substantially complete” by Aug. 1 — and that means once a contractor is hired work will have to start immediately, probably the very next day.

That will be demolition of the existing bleachers and their aging concrete foundations. The district already hired a company to do the demolition but delayed the wrecking ball because it wanted to be sure it could find a contractor for the bleachers that will do the job within the district’s budget.

Otherwise it might be faced with a destroyed stadium it couldn’t afford to rebuild.

“Substantial completion” means the bleachers will be ready for spectators and the press box will be complete, business manager Tim Walters said. New restrooms, locker rooms and concession facilities will wait for a later phase of construction.

In informal talks, likely bidders have said the compressed timeline is possible, Walters said.

If there are no bids within the project’s budget, the board would have to decide whether to put it off until after the 2013 football season.

But Walters said he believes some of the bids will be within range.

Potential bidders have said they can complete the project as long as they start by April 1.

Plans for the restoration have been brewing for four years. The district has $1.3 million to work with, some of it through donations.

It will have to raise more money for future restoration phases, including new turf and lights.

The final price tag is expected to be $5 million.

The existing stadium is beloved by generations of Tomcat fans but its concrete is deteriorating.

A restoration committee has a website,, with more about the plan and how to contribute.