Installation complete on C-K Elementary bleachers
KENOVA — When the concrete bleachers that stood for more than a half-century at Ward-Craycraft Stadium were demolished in March earlier this year, many area residents were uneasy about losing such a valuable piece of the Ceredo-Kenova Wonders football history.
Those worries can take a back seat after the construction and installation of brand-new metal bleachers was completed Wednesday at the field in front of C-K Elementary School.
Kenova native Rick Chaffin described the project as a “new, fresh, green look that the community can be proud of and when completed, the Ward-Craycraft Stadium will once again be a beautiful site.”
E&D Specialty Stands began construction on the bleachers Nov. 5 after being awarded the contract by the Wayne County Board of Education earlier this year, which included the construction and installation of bleachers on two separate sites — C-K Elementary and Crum PreK-8.
The projects cost the Wayne County Board of Education a combined $650,000, according to Wayne County School Superintendent Todd Alexander.
Before demolition, the board had looked into renovation options after members of the
community opposed the removal of the old bleachers, which had deteriorated and were also found to contain asbestos.
“We were reluctant to tear them down, but after looking closely, even spending up to a million dollars on a renovation project, the life expectancy was going to be short, maybe around 10 years,” Alexander said.
“By installing new bleachers, we spent approximately one-third of what we would have in renovations and they will last us decades.”
In a previous interview with The Herald-Dispatch, Alexander said the project would be funded by monies 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.
Due to construction, the C-K Wonders football team was unable to use the field this year for home football games, which were moved to nearby locations, but Alexander said the site will be field ready by next fall and that all major construction projects are complete and only minor cosmetic projects remain, including replacing fencing along U.S. 60 that was torn out upon demolition of the existing site.
Alexander said the new bleachers are handicap accessible and have a seating capacity of around 1,200.
“The Board of Education did a nice job in replacing them. Given the historic significance of the old bleachers, it was hard to see them taken away, but the new bleachers look well with the new school,” Ceredo Mayor Paul Billups said.
“I think they have enough green in them to lighten the hearts of Wonder fans.”