Cost for Wheeling Island Stadium Repairs Less Than Anticipated

WHEELING — Ohio County Schools officials seemed to have reason to smile Friday while accepting Colaianni Construction’s bid of $407,000 to repair Wheeling Island Stadium because previous estimates for the work ran as high as $1 million.

Superintendent Kim Miller said contractors working for the Dillonvale-based company should be at the stadium Monday to begin the work, which became necessary when on April 14 school officials discovered damage to one of the concrete panels at the top of the stadium on the side closest to Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack.

Three days later, contractors brought this panel to the ground by crane, but an adjacent panel plummeted from the top of the stadium in an uncontrolled manner, eventually crashing through the fence around the stadium. As of Friday, the panel that fell remained in the same position.

In May, Miller said the cost of the work could run as high as $1 million. But during a three-minute board of education meeting, members Sarah Koegler, Christine Carder and Shane Mallett voted 3-0 to accept the $407,000 bid. Board President Zach Abraham and member Tim Birch were absent.

“I appreciate the board having this meeting today so that we can get the work going as soon as possible,” Miller said.

Miller said the Colaianni bid was the lowest of four, with Cattrell Companies Inc. of Toronto, JD&E Contractors & Engineers of Wheeling and Walters Construction Inc. of Wheeling also submitting proposals. School officials did not specify how much these firms bid, but said Colaianni should be able to do the job at $407,000.

Brian Harto, school director of facilities and maintenance, said officials do not believe the project will be as labor intensive as they originally did, allowing for the lower bid.

The seating section in question was built in 1987, though the stadium itself dates back to 1927. The plan calls for reinforcing the concrete panels on all sides of the seating sections, in addition to reattaching the panels that fell, and doing some reinforcing in the press box area.

“The safety of our students is always paramount,” Miller added.

School officials originally hired Eric Matyskiela of M&G to assess the situation. Matyskiela said the main reason for the panel failure was simply weathering. For example, the concrete can get very hot when exposed to the summer sun. The structure then cools at night, but heats back up during the next day, for example.

Miller and fellow school officials now hope Colaianni officials can complete the work in time for the Wheeling Park High School football team to host at least one regular season game at the stadium this year. Officials are already planning to move the following games to the campus of West Liberty University:

∫ Aug. 24 vs. Brooke

∫ Sept. 15 vs. University

∫ Sept. 22 vs. Cambridge

∫ Sept. 29 vs. Parkersburg.

Other events to be moved include Wheeling Park boys’ and girls’ soccer matches, with these games to be split between Wheeling Jesuit University and the J.B. Chambers Memorial Park in East Wheeling.

School officials hope the stadium is ready for Wheeling Park to host Parkersburg South on Oct. 27.

For the first time in many years, the stadium will not host the annual OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Game and Queen of Queens competition, set for July 22, as these events are now set for the Dave Bruney Football Complex in Martins Ferry.

Miller said the school’s insurance policy, held through the West Virginia Board of Risk and Insurance Management, should help defray a portion of the expense.