New Bleachers Up, Maybe Ready

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Football fans might be allowed to view the Friday night game from the newly installed bleachers on the north side of Payson High School field.

Work crews have been constructing the stands since they arrived a week ago and hit only one snag -- a part was missing from the construction inventory.

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The new stands on the Payson High School football field are just about completed, but fans won't know until just before kickoff if they can be used for tonight's game against Mingus.

According to Athletic Director Dave Bradley, the crews expect to receive the part and have it installed before tonight's 7 p.m. kickoff.

If the stands are completed, visitors seating will be moved to the south side of the field.

Bradley advises fans to arrive early and locate the Longhorn spirit line. If the cheerleaders are on the north side, that means the stands have been completed and are ready for use.

If they are on the south side of the field, the bleachers are not ready for use and fans should use the stands they have the past two home games.

The new stands will include seating for about 2,000 spectators and a press box.

The nearly $170,000 project received a huge boost the past two years from the Credit for Kids tax program.

In 2002, contributors earmarked $40,388 for the stadium improvement project. A year later, they gave $55,567. In backing the project, Bradley has contended that expanded and better seating will boost attendance at football games.

In past seasons, many spectators have had to find make-shift viewing spots on the hill in front of Wilson Dome or bring folding chairs and search out a location. Some chose to stand the entire game behind the sidelines.

If the new stands increase gate receipts as Bradley expects, the cash flow will bolster the overburdened athletic budget.

"We use the football gate receipts to pay for a lot of our athletics the rest of the year, so it's real important," Bradley said.

The new stands also will provide a site where PHS and RCMS graduations could be held and there would be comfortable seating for all. Track and field spectators would have seat locations with bird's eye views of all events.

In the future, Bradley plans to expand the seating to hold even larger crowds.

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