Gym Safety Sessions: A Follow Up

Not long ago, we were invited to a facility for a Gym Safety Session. There were approximately 12 people in attendance, many understood why they were invited to attend and some had obvious frustration that their attendance was required, they operate the equipment on a regular basis after all, so why should they attend?

This is a large facility, multiple gymnasiums, two large bleacher banks that were installed 20+ years ago along with extensive athletic equipment including divider curtains, basketball back stops, batting cages, and more. With a facility this large and many coaches passing through, there are a lot of hands on the equipment. They recently had repairs completed on both the bleachers and the divider curtains, spurring the Gym Safety Session to ensure their equipment would continue to operate properly post-repairs.

Again, why should everyone attend? Even if they already know how to operate the equipment?

Simple. You don’t know what you don’t know.

And.

Every once in a while, with that many hands on deck, it’s good to get everyone back on the same page.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

It can seem simple, plug in the pendant controller and push the button….open the panel box and flip the switch. But if you don’t know what you’re looking for during operation, there are hazards and possible equipment damage. It’s good for everyone operating equipment to have a baseline of understanding on operation and troubleshooting.

During our session, we did a crash course on proper operation, including trouble shooting and walking under the bleachers. We reviewed best practices for the facility and who should actually be operating the bleachers.

One of the options on this particular set of bleachers is to short set them, closing the first three rows of a section for scorer tables and allowing for more room on the court for team seating. When a section is short set, the increased height of the first row is now +/- 4ft. and requires a guardrail to be placed in front of it for safety and code compliance.

Staff members shared their concern regarding sight lines when the guardrail is in place and inquired about cutting down the guardrail so it would still be there, but it would be shorter, allowing their patrons to have better sight lines.

Enter safety and code compliance.

It’s important to note that the guardrails were designed and installed by the manufacturer to meet code compliance at the time of installation to keep people from stepping off of the front of the bleachers when the first three rows are closed in that area, preventing a fall hazard. Thus, altering the height of the guardrail would go against manufacturer’s design and recommendation. Often doing so, would also void any warranties on the equipment and would place all liability on the facility, not the manufacturer.

They were very wise at this facility to bring up the question while we were there. Ultimately, you don’t know what you don’t know so asking an expert when it comes to modifying a component on your bleacher is always a good idea.

More information regarding code requirements for guards can be found in Chapter 4 of the ICC-300, remember Ohio currently follows ICC-300 2012 as of November 2017. Otherwise, the most recent published version of the ICC-300 is 2017.

We took a similar approach with athletic equipment, reviewing proper operation and best practices while answering additional questions. The main panel of operation in the main gymnasium was non-momentary switches that do not require a key for operation. The switches are housed in a panel box, but as of that day, the panel box remained unlocked, allowing easy access to the equipment switches.

The gym is typically locked so access isn’t always as feasible, but what about when the gymnasium is full of people? Anyone can open the panel and flip the switch and operate the equipment. Should this happen with someone that didn’t know what they were doing, they wouldn’t know when to stop, especially if the limit switch was faulty. The end result would be damage not only to the equipment such as a backstop or gym divider curtain, but to the structural components of the building’s roof. There is also the potential hazard of a falling piece of equipment and having it come down on spectators.

All switches should be momentary type where if you let go of the switch, it automatically springs back to the off position. Many modern options are also available and recommended including a Keypad Group Controller, Touch Screen Group Controller, and WIFI Group Controllers.

Since our Safety Session, the facility has agreed to keep the panel locked to reduce unauthorized access to the non-momentary switches.

Every once in a while, with that many hands on deck, it’s good to get everyone back on the same page.

More and more facilities are posting signage in their gymnasiums warning patrons not to stand on the bleachers (seats) and that bleachers must be in full open position before use. Some facilities go so far as having written directions for operation, including remove pendant controller after bleacher is located and operator is responsible for the safety of individuals on, around, and below bleachers.

It’s not a bad idea to have a set of rules for operation including, but not limited to:

Bleachers
Athletic Equipment

Chippewa School District | Chippewa Jr./Sr. High School

Project Name: Chippewa School District Owner: Chippewa Jr./Sr. High School Architect: Hasenstab Architects Construction Manager: C.T. Taylor Construction Scope: Materials & Installation of Educational Casework, Lab Casework, Telescopic Bleachers, and Auditorium Seating Completion: August 2018 The February 2019 edition of Properties Magazine featured Chippewa School District’s new Jr./Sr. High School, describing the new build as a showcase for the community. The new building is a…

New Year, New Budget Planning: Outdoor Bleachers

 

When it comes to outdoor bleachers and grandstands, there aren’t too many differences when it comes to research before budgeting. Even the International Code Council (ICC) views them as the same entity when it comes to code compliance, defining bleachers as:

 “Tiered seating supported on a dedicated structural system and two or more rows high (see Grandstands).

Grandstand: Tiered seating supported on a dedicated structural system and two or more rows high (see Bleachers).” – ICC-300: Chapter 2, Definitions

As we mentioned in our previous post, New Year, New Budget Planning: Telescopic Bleachers, start with an inspection and do your research. If you know for a fact that you want to demo your existing bleachers, maybe an inspection isn’t necessary – but there may be options that you’re unaware of that may point you toward a renovation rather than a full replacement. If your aluminum planks are good, but your understructure needs to be replaced, there are options that may reduce costs for you. And if your understructure is solid but you want new seating – that is an option too. Ultimately, make sure that you and/or your consultant/contractor fully understand what it means to be code compliant, especially upgrades. We’ll go into this more next week with Renovation Options.

Do Your Research: What’s on Your Wish List?

  • Know what you like and don’t like about your current seating and seating in other districts.
  • Evaluate your major concerns with your current seating.
  • Know what is possible in the space you have available.
  • Know what extras you are willing to invest in either now or down the road.
  • Have a clear understanding of what it will take to maintain your new seating.
  • Realistic time frame from signed PO to installation date

Know what you like and don’t like about your current seating and seating in other districts.

This is everything from VIP Seating, Student Sections, Press Boxes, and access to the understructure. Maybe a neighboring district has riser boards that match their district color pallet that you like or perhaps another district has a Press Box that is too large or too small. Take some time to do some inventory. What creature comforts do you want to make sure are available for the community? Backrests/VIP seating is a great way to offset the costs of new bleachers, an annual fee for VIPS could go toward preventative maintenance plans lessening the financial burden.

Evaluate your major concerns with your current seating.

What is your Why? Why are you investing at this time? Are you outgrowing your current seating unit? Are your current bleachers unsafe for patrons? Take all of this into consideration to course correct for the next installation.

Know what is possible in the space you have available.

Maybe you have a hillside bleacher that will make design and installation a bit more complex or perhaps you’ve outgrown your current seating and need to make room for additional seats. Make sure to talk to the experts that can explain what is required of your space – and what is possible to get you exactly what you want.

Know what extras you are willing to invest in either now or down the road.

Are you wanting to add a Press Box down the road? Or maybe you want to add VIPS seating in lots of 10 at a time to reduce costs up front – whatever it is that you want down the road, be sure to include it in your initial plans so that when the time comes, you’re not losing seats or having to make a tremendous amount of upgrades to get you what you want.

Have a clear understanding of what it will take to maintain your new seating.

Did you know that according to the Ohio Building Code, the ICC-300, and Manufacturer’s standards you are required to have an annual inspection. But don’t stop at checking the task off the list, make sure you are looking at your report, a good report will have specific action items needed to maintain your bleachers. Keep in mind too that with the change in weather – aluminum contracts and expands which means you’ll need to check hardware and structural supports throughout the year, not just during inspections.

Realistic time frame from signed PO to installation date

As soon as you start to “think” you want to invest in outdoor bleachers, talk with an expert to make sure you are aware of delivery and installation times. This time of year gets heavy with RFPs and orders and the summer time slots fill fast for installation so the sooner you are aware of what you need, the sooner you’ll have a realistic understanding of what is possible for a completion date.

Want to talk outdoor bleacher options?

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The Fighting Scots | From Maintenance to Replacement

The College of Wooster

Making the Impossible Possible: Challenge Accepted

Timken Gym Before & After

It took 10 years.

In 2008 Farnham Equipment Company’s Maintenance Solutions Team quoted and performed the first of many seating inspections and repairs at The College of Wooster Timken Gym. Over the span of 10 years, Jim Davis would contact FEC to come back for repairs with a major overhaul in 2012 that led to the start of budget planning for a new seating system that wouldn’t come to fruition until 2017.

The existing seating was installed in the late 60’s, a unique set up with the main seating bleacher bank split/separated in two banks with the intention of creating two separate courts and gym spaces.

The freestanding reverse fold bleacher for rows 1-13 was 7’ deep by 12’h by 104’ long and separated the two gyms. Behind the freestanding reverse fold bank was the massive wall attached bank for rows 14-30 at 24’ row spacing. The bank was 8’d by 28’h by 104’l. When opened, the wall attached bank would meet up with the freestanding reverse fold to create a single bank of seating. This very large bank would take a lot of time, manpower and prayers to open and close due to the size and age of the structure.

The seating opposite the large bleacher bank was typical seating. A recessed bank 13 rows at 30” row spacing by 104’l with wood backs on the main court and another 14 Rows at 24” row spacing by 104’l freestanding reverse fold in the balcony.

May 2017, discussion began and challenges presented themselves. First was to design the largest freestanding reverse fold bleacher bank intended to divide the two gyms and match the height for the cross aisle. Hussey Seating Company would not engineer two separate bleacher banks like the existing seating and accepted the challenge to truly make this seating system work for the College of Wooster. The final design was a 22-Row system. Rows 1-14 have a custom rise (to meet the balcony door way height, with 33” row spacing, Metro and Contour seating, a 6’6” cross aisle, then rows 15-22 at 26 row spacing with CourtSide Seating, for an Open dimension of 58’7”deep, by 104’l. The top seat is at 18’2” with an over height of 22’3”. The closed dimension is 10’9”d. To help reduce weight, we designed the back panel to have a 10’ x 104’ banner above the 10’ plywood back. A local company manufactured the “FIGHTING SCOTS” banner for us.

Challenge Accepted. To date this is the largest freestanding reveres fold bleacher bank in Hussey Seating history and only takes one person a few minutes to open and set up.

Opposite the reverse fold freestanding bleacher bank we matched existing seating on the main court with a wall attached recess bank with 13-Rows of Metro Chairs and Contour backrest at 33” row spacing transitioning to the balcony to a 14-Row 26 Row spacing with CourtSide seats. Both banks at 104’ in length.

Next, Delivery. In 2010 the college built the Scot Recreation center next to the Timken Gym, closing off direct access into the gym main court level. Mike Kirk, Project Manager for Farnham had to get creative with a solution for delivery that would include a crane to lower all the main floor material into the patio/pit area emergency exits. But there wasn’t direct access there either – the delivery truck would need to park on the street with a hillside barrier to the sidewalk. Installation was phased in collaboration with the gym’s floor replacement.

Challenge Accepted. Plan in Place.

Pat Kindelin took some time to meet with Jeffrey Bricker, Scot Center Operations Manager, see below for what he has to say about the refreshing face of Timken Gymnasium.

A big Thank You to Jay Carter and Miranda Harman at Hussey Seating for all their help in designing and pricing out the new seating system. It was a complicated project with many details that needed to be worked out. Thanks to Dave Farnham for his special attention to all the details in this project that made it all come together

The overall team work at Farnham Equipment Company with Rocky Baker and the Service Department, Kami Wernimont for helping put this video together and to Mike Kirk and his team of installers made for complete team effort for a project 10 years in the making for Farnham Equipment Company.

View the full Gallery Here:

The College of Wooster | Timken Gymnasium Bleacher Replacement

New Year, New Budget Planning: Telescopic Seating

Our Why.

Providing the best solution for you with code compliance and safety at the forefront because our kids, our family, and our community are in those seats.

Do Your Research.

The best solution for your facility may not be the same as the school district down the road. For some, it’s more about the look and feel of the gymnasium and for others it’s more about functionality and ease of use. Truth is, capital improvement purchases such as seating can be extremely complicated, but they don’t have to be if you do your homework. Considering this is typically a once in a generation purchase, you want to approach it correctly, but where do you start? We’ve gotten a lot of questions and a lot feedback over the years as well as calls to update new seating because not all seating options were considered including the addition of team seating, scorer tables, or partial seating options.

Last year, we sat down with Olmsted Falls to discuss their High School Bleacher Replacement project and you may be shocked to know that there were only 13 days (not business days, but days) between the date they contacted us and the day they supplied us with a Purchase Order. What made their decision that easy? Simple: They did their research.

We talked with Timothy Atkinson about his process for choosing Farnham Equipment Company and Hussey Seating Company and found out just how they did their due diligence prior to making a selection. The district passed a Bond Levy in November 2016 for renovations to be completed in 2018. The district wanted to show the community they were progressing with the renovations by starting in the gymnasium, so rather than wait until 2018, they had their new bleachers installed prior to the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Mr. Atkinson shared with us that they got the parents involved on their research. Knowing that a board office member and her son spent numerous hours in gymnasiums across the state for wrestling meets, Atkinson asked her to take note of what she did and didn’t like about the bleachers she was spending countless hours on along with the manufacturer information. She involved other parents in the process and shared the information with the decision makers. That, coupled with the benefits of NJPA pricing, now Sourcewell, and quick response from FEC, helped them make their decision.

Bottom Line: Know what you truly want and involve your community or colleagues in the process to create the ultimate wish list.

Budget Numbers

Once you have your wish list, find out from the experts what is truly possible within your space including the addition of media platforms, team seating, and/or scorer tables. Even if these items aren’t feasible for you right now budget wise, you want to be able to add them down the road without having to modify your seating again. The majority of the bleachers we install include at least two of these in their layout if not all three and proper egress has to be considered. Read more about Egress & What it Has to do with Bleachers, Team Seating and Scorers’ Tables.

Let’s Talk Extras

We’ve Got Spirit How ‘Bout You? Hussey Seating Company has a Total Graphics Package that provides the ultimate fan experience from Xtreme Logos, StepSign Graphics, CourtSign Graphics, Safety End Closure Graphics, CourtSide Graphics, Colored Rails, Media Platform Graphics, and Team Seating. Many of these options are great for selling sponsorships to assist with your investment. You dream it up – we can make it happen.

Easy Button. Quite literally if you upgrade to a wireless remote for your bleachers. Other ease of use options include Auto-Rotating Aisle Rails and Hinge Kits for Floor to First Row Aisle Steps. If you use your aisle steps now (you should – code compliance!) you know just how heavy the steps can be and that sometimes they wonder off to a closet somewhere… Additional accessories can be found here.

VIP Access. Whether you want to highlight the student section or create a sponsored VIP area, you can upgrade your seats to include backrests, cup holders, and more. Color combinations are vast so you have options!

 

Want More Information?

Looking for more information or ready to purchase? Contact Pat Kindelin or David Fahrenholz – they’ve got you covered. Curious about why Hussey Seating Company is the industry leader when it comes to telescopic solutions? Check them out for yourself here. We’ve partnered with Hussey for over 40 years and stand by their product, so much so that we are one of their Hussey Advantage Regional Service Centers with our Maintenance Solutions program.

Do Your Homework: Our Heart is Out There

Submitted by Kami Wernimont, Marketing Manager

Watching my son climb up the bleacher steps remind me that at a young age we’re all a bit fearless. At his age, I would race to the top and see how high I could go. Now, knowing what I know, I do a quick scope out the whole bleacher unit, making sure its safe. After all, my heart is walking around up there.

Prior to my start at FEC in 2011, I looked at bleachers much differently. Now, I can drive by on the interstate and at a quick glance know if they meet some of the code requirements. Did you know the reason we pass out the 4-inch basketballs at every trade show? It’s because the gaps in the bleachers must prevent the passing of a 4-inch sphere, roughly the size of an infant’s head. Let that sink in. Our hearts, walking around up there, if the gap is just slightly bigger, they could fall through – and children have. This is one of the many reasons our team is so thorough when it comes to inspections. Our children are up there, playing, naive, and carefree – just as they should be.

Not long ago, someone did a comparison of our report versus another vendor for price and quality comparison. I was shocked to find out that the other vendor stated to them, “oh it’s okay, we can pass your bleachers” without so much as climbing to the top of them. The district already knew repairs were needed, they just needed a full evaluation of what was to be done.

Bleacher safety and code compliance can be a little overwhelming as you pull out the book of codes and references but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, it’s just knowing where to look. We’ve made it a bit easier for you – below is an access link to our PDF Bleacher Safety: What’s Your Risk? It takes a village to raise our children, let’s work together to do our homework and keep them safe in all the ways we can.

Digital Download

Bleacher Safety: What's Your Risk
A Crash Course in Code Compliance

Want to Take it a Step Further?

Let's schedule a Gym Safety Session at no cost to you.

Emergency Services | Are You Ready?

  Schools are about to open their doors to the 2018-2019 school year. You’ve been working all summer, checking off maintenance needs. Fridays will soon be filled with football and gymnasiums will be hosting pep rallies. Gym class means volleyball, basketball, and indoor sports. All have students gathering, communities cheering on the home team. Are you ready?  We are….

NJPA is Now Sourcewell

  After more than a year of research and planning, on June 6, 2018, NJPA became Sourcewell. The change comes with the plan to deepen relationships with its members and make it easier to find the solutions you need through Cooperative Purchasing, Services, and Programs. Hussey Seating continues to partner with Sourcewell, formerly NJPA, to offer education, government and…