Let's Talk Outdoor Bleacher Options
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,…
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…
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.
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.
Let's Talk Outdoor Bleacher Options
Making the Impossible Possible: Challenge Accepted 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…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Project Name: Groveport Madison High School Owner: Groveport Madison Schools Architect: VSWC Architects Construction Manager: Smoot Construction Scope: Materials & Installation of Educational Casework, Lab Casework, Telescopic Bleachers, and Auditorium Seating Completion: August 2018 The Groveport Madison community celebrated the dedication of their new High School on August 29, 2018 as they toured the 240,000-square-foot building. Throughout the building, Farnham Equipment Company provided…
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.
Bleacher Safety: What's Your Risk
A Crash Course in Code Compliance
Let's schedule a Gym Safety Session at no cost to you.
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….