District gets $1.7M settlement after stadium troubles

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District gets $1.7M settlement after stadium troubles

Felix Kalvesmaki, Staff writer

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After a variety of problems since construction, the district has received a settlement of $1.7 million for the issues that came with Eagle Stadium from PBK, the stadium’s architects, and Pogue Construction, the contractors.

Repairing the stadium was a difficult procedure in every way. According to Superintendent Dr. Lance Hindt, the decision to close its doors wasn’t a light one.

“When we shut it down, we shut it down for safety reasons,” Hindt said. “We couldn’t take a chance on anything happening that could injure a student, or a teacher or a patron in the stadium.”

The methods of fixing the stadium were complex, according to Hindt. Just exactly how the district would tackle the complicated issues they faced was a long, in-depth discussion.

“There were seven stages to repair that stadium,” Hindt said. “The most significant being the weight-bearing platform of the concourse, and once we got that report back, we knew exactly what it is that we needed to do.”

The number of $1.7 million came about after talks of just how much money it took to repair the stadium, and an effort of good nature by the construction companies.

“We took the cost of what it cost to put the concourse on now, which I believe was about $750,000, then we put some inflationary costs over a period of time,” Hindt said. “So we came to the conclusion that there could be a possible million dollar expenditure in 10-15 years on that concourse. Then the $700,000 was a good faith effort on PBK and Pogue to say, ‘Hey look, we want to close this on good standing with you guys.’ And we gladly accepted.”

When questioned about where the money from the settlement would be going, Hindt said the money will strictly fund the stadium, but there is plenty of money going to other places around the district.

“It’s specifically allocated to the stadium. We want to make sure that we take care of that stadium in the future,” Hindt said. “As you know, we just passed a $272 million bond, and we’ve got a pretty aggressive plan over the next five years. We’ve got some plans in store.”

Board President Louise Master said the problem couldn’t have been solved without the hard work of everyone involved.

“The stadium’s closing impacted the school district financially but more importantly, it impacted our students and community,” Master said. “That’s why getting the work done properly and on time was so important. We appreciate the work of our own staff and all of the companies involved to meet the project deadlines and honor the commitment not to pass costs back to the school district for the stadium repairs.”

Hindt said he is incredibly satisfied with the results, and couldn’t be happier.

“We didn’t overlook anything,” Hindt said. “ We took a negative, and turned it into what I believe to be a positive. We’ve got a better stadium today than we originally had when the taxpayers approved the stadium. In the end, I think we did it about as well as we could’ve handled it. I’m real pleased with the process.”

The district was satisfied with the settlement, and Hindt says it’s a nice way to tie loose ends.

“I think the settlement’s pretty neat,” Hindt said. “It’s a good icing on the cake on the end. It’s nothing we pushed for, but we knew we’d have payments down the road, eventually. And PBK and Pogue, they knew they could put a positive closure on this by doing it. And fortunately, they did.”

Hindt also said, assuredly, that Eagle Stadium’s problems are finally at an end.

“I’m telling you right now, Eagle Stadium’s troubles are a distant memory. We’re moving on, we’re looking forward to the games we have scheduled there next year, we have a top-rated team from Hoover, Alabama, coming in for the first game next year,” he said. “I think the stadium issue is done.”

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