Wheeling Island Stadium Report Expected in a Week; Officials Encouraged

Ohio County Schools officials expect a full engineer’s report on the condition of Wheeling Island Stadium in about a week, although Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones said he’s encouraged by what he’s heard so far.

Jones said Eric Matyskiela of M&G Architects and Engineers spent several hours at the stadium Wednesday assessing the venue.

School officials last Friday discovered one of the concrete panels at the top of the grandstand had shifted, and when workers removed that panel Monday, the one next to it came crashing to the ground, damaging a portion of the fence around the stadium.

“He believes, preliminarily, that there will be a way to fix what was hurt, to likely secure all of the existing panels to make sure that there are no more areas that are going to be unsafe at any point,” Jones said, noting that the situation could change based on M&G’s final report.

Jones said Matyskiela was confident the stadium can be repaired in time for football season in the fall.

The stadium, in addition to being the home of the Wheeling Park High School Patriots, is the site for the West Virginia Super Six high school football championships each December.

The engineer was not as confident, however, of the stadium’s status for the OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Classic scheduled for July 22.

“That’s still kind of up in the air,” Jones said.

Board of education members are set to receive an update on the stadium during their meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the school district’s office on National Road in Elm Grove.

Jones said it’s still too early to estimate what the cost of repairs may be — or how much of that cost the county’s taxpayers will have to bear.

“We have no idea on cost, or if it’s something that insurance picks up,” he said. “We have no idea about any of that yet.”

As for the cause of the original panel shift discovered last week, Jones said it’s “probably just years of water getting in there, some rust — freeze-thaw, freeze-thaw … . That’s what it sounds like.”

A third concrete panel on the affected side of the stadium is cracked, but Brian Harto, maintenance director for Ohio County Schools, said that was addressed several years ago and is unrelated to the current issue.

However, Jones said all of the panels are being evaluated as part of the engineer’s examination.