Demolition begins on C-K stadium bleachers
Demolition of the Ward-Craycraft Stadium bleachers began this week despite efforts by community members over the past several years to save and restore them.
The demolition of the bleachers was approved 3-2 by the Wayne County Board of Education at the end of January.
Wayne County Schools Superintendent Todd Alexander said demolition was the best option, given the state of the bleachers, which also had been found to contain asbestos.
He added that even if the county had decided to move ahead with restorations suggested by the community, those efforts would have only sustained the bleachers for another 10 years.
As home of the former Ceredo-Kenova High School football teams, “The sentimental value and the historical value (of the bleachers) were certainly considered, but when it comes down to it, in 10 years, if not sooner, we would have had to tear them down anyway,” Alexander said. “So we just wanted to act now while we have the funds to be able to do something that is going to be more permanent.”
Former Kenova Mayor Ric Griffith, who was part of the committee working to save the bleachers, said he was saddened by the board’s decision.
“There is a sentimental element to it, of course,” he said. “I remember my father’s generation raising that structure and what that meant to the success of our athletic programs, and I am sad to see their work torn down. I am realistic about the safety issues, and we had pledged to address those.”
Despite the high estimated price tag in fixing the bleachers, Griffith said several community members were prepared to commit funds to have the work done.
“I see what could have been, and it saddens me that we weren’t able to do the project,” he said. “People looked at (the bleachers) and saw peeling paint, but I looked at them and saw potential.”
The bleachers were originally constructed in 1963 and were built and funded entirely by C-K football boosters.
Alexander said demolition of the bleachers, which had the capacity to seat 2,000 people, should take about two weeks. It is being completed by Damron Enterprises at a cost of $90,035.
The Wayne County Board of Education has yet to approve a contract to build new bleachers once the old ones are removed.
E&D Specialty Stands submitted a bid of $295,050 that would supply Ceredo-Kenova with 750 seats.
Alexander said they are looking at the possibility of having up to 1,250, but adding more seats increases the cost.
Alexander said both contracts are being paid for by funds that have been set aside for the restoration of the field as well as funds left over from a $42.2 million bond measure that was used to build the new Ceredo-Kenova Elementary School.