Break On Bleacher Bill

Price to replace rickety stands slashed in half

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Clutching a daunting $119,000 bid to repair and replace condemned bleachers, the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) board on Dec. 16 took a breath and a sharp pencil and whittled the price down to $51,811.

Thanks to that lower price the board also decided to take the money out of existing building funds rather than dip into the money from the sale of Frontier Ele­mentary.

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Payson School Board member Rory Huff

The original bid envisioned replacing the bleachers on the visitors side plus two smaller sets of bleachers on the home side. The grandstand bleachers had always been fine, said PUSD Facilities Director Todd Poer.

In addition, Poer said district maintenance staff could dismantle the bleachers and sell the scrap metal. That will save $60,000.

PUSD Financial Director Kathy Man­ning had cautioned the board the district could have trouble transferring funds from the sale of Frontier to the bleacher project anyway. The district would have to get clearance from the Gila County attorney and the state attorney general, which could take months.

“Superintendent (Ron) Hitchcock wrote a letter in August and we have not heard yet,” she said. “They were going to try to get an opinion out this week.

“The county attorney thought they had 30 days, but they have 60 days. Then the request is going to the AG.”

She said if the board spent $119,000 on the bleachers only $18,000 would remain in contingency funds in reserve with half the school year to go.

“Eighteen thousand doesn’t make me warm and fuzzy,” said board member Rory Huff.

“Todd, what would it cost just to repair the visitors side?”

“A new visitor side would cost, $51,811.87,” said Poer.

“Would that reduce capacity?” asked Huff. Poer said it would not.

The board voted to start the project immediately with contingency funds.

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