Almost a year ago, voters in Marietta’s school district passed a bond issue to fund renovations of some existing sports facilities and construction of new ones. Most notably, McClain Stadium would get new bleachers to replace the old concrete stands that were condemned by a structural engineer.

Bonds were sold, bids accepted, and plans in place. School administrators and staff were ready to begin work so new facilities would be in place as soon as possible.

 And then the rains came. Start dates were pushed back and back and back. Weeks and months passed without much in the way of visible progress until just a couple of weeks ago when bleachers began to go up – at last.

“The bleachers are going up fairly quickly,” said Superintendent Brandi Naylor. “Finishing touches should be put on next week.”

The press box is being built off-site and will be lowered into place with a crane. Electric and HVAC will finish the project by the end of July. Of course, this is if the weather cooperates.

The weather has also pushed back other parts of the project that were contingent upon completion of the bleachers, which has pushed the timeline into football season.

That means work on the parking lot, fencing, and the ticket booth that were due to be finished by the beginning of the season will likely be placed on hold until after the 2019 season is over, along with laying new sod on the playing field.

At this point only time will tell.

The track has been scraped in preparation for the laying of the new all-weather surface, which is scheduled to be installed in late August.

“Of course, all of these plans are dependent upon the weather,” said Naylor. “In order to get the track surface in we will need a string of several dry days in the weather forecast before they can put the new surface down.”

Administrators and coaches, along with the school’s maintenance staff are doing their best to ensure that sports schedules aren’t affected by the construction.

“As of right now,” Naylor continued, “all home football games will be played as scheduled and the work will continue as needed on weeks when we have away games.

“We appreciate the patience of our students and parents. We did our best to plan these projects so they wouldn’t interfere with sports seasons, but there just wasn’t any way to plan for months of rain like we’ve had.”

Bids for the softball complex and track and field house remodel have been bid concurrently with a STEM/Admin building. The STEM/Admin building was not a part of the bond issue and will be funded separately, but has been bid with bond projects in order to save the district money.

Those bids were opened at a special meeting of the Board of Education held on Tuesday, July 2 at noon. Several bids were received, and the bid was awarded to TCA Construction out of Norman. Their bid came in the lowest at $1,400,000.

“We received six bids, several of those coming from larger contractors,” said Naylor, “so we feel like the bids were accurate and fair.”

The district is hoping to break ground on these projects in August, again, weather permitting.