Coming hot off their 72-67 win over Quaker Valley, the Ambridge Varsity Boys’ Basketball team received some even more exciting news that could set the momentum for the team as it moves toward the playoffs. The Wright Field House – which has been closed for games since January 2018 due to safety issues with the bleachers – will be reopened in time for the Tuesday, Jan. 22 home game against Central Valley.
The Field House originally closed after the bleachers failed a safety check by the company which installed them originally. At the time, the District was advised by the bleacher manufacturing company that the bleachers would need to be completely replaced at an estimated cost of $400,000. Recently, an alternative repair became available to the District at a cost of $5,000, said Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter.
Athletic Director Mr. Brian Miller said the solution to fixing the existing bleachers came at a recent WPIAL athletic directors’ meeting, when it was suggested that the bleachers could be adequately stabilized for use without total replacement. L-shaped metal plates were installed to support the bleachers, and were secured by 250 bolts. The method was approved by the bleacher manufacturer, Mr. Miller said. Once the work is finished, it will be inspected by the company.
In order to make the repair work, the bleachers will not be able to be closed and will have to remain open at all times. The fix was applied only to one side of the bleachers, so the opposite side of the bleachers will remain unavailable for use. Because the bleachers will need to remain open, it also will reduce the number of available courts in the Field House from three to two. In addition to the bleacher stabilizers, the center court also was refinished.
“It was a great effort on the part of the athletic director and administration to get the Field House reopened for the kids,” said Dr. Welter. “We’re pleased to be able to get this iconic facility reopened in time for our team to finish out the season.”