Hamburg Area School Board Vice President Brian Specht reported on the bleacher committee's recommendations for the high school's football bleachers, and future renovations of the athletic facility at the May 14 meeting.The committee recommended using Reading-based AEM Architects to assist with planning the project. The firm is currently supervising the Tilden Elementary Center project. Philip Leinbach of AEM said if hired, the firm would submit a proposal with a "not to exceed" cost. At a previous meeting, Athletic Director Aaron Menapace said replacing the bleachers alone would cost the district $160,000.

First on the committee's list is to begin demolition of the existing bleachers this spring. According to Specht, the demolition will be done at no cost to the district by a local contractor.

The existing press box will remain intact until the spring of 2008 when construction will begin on new bleachers which will be built into the existing bank next to the field. The new grandstand will have a minimum of 1,200 seats with an elevated front row and will include a fully-enclosed decking system.

The committee proposed using two portable bleachers with a minimum capacity of 100 seats for the fall football season, which will most likely be used by the middle school once the new stadium is built.

In addition, the committee proposed building one facility to house adequate restrooms, concession stands for both the sports and band boosters, as well as storage for the band and sports boosters, youth football and custodial supplies.

Hamburg Youth Football President Bill Ehler said that the community program has about 300 participants, and according to his estimates, stadium renovations could potentially impact 3,000 community members.

He said the organization is conducting an online poll, and that results are overwhelmingly in favor of stadium renovations.

The online pole on the Web site, www.hamburgyouthfootball.com, asks the question, "Do you agree with spending tax dollars for a new all sports outdoor facility?" At press time, 31 people had responded with 80.6 percent (25 people), responding "Yes, definitely."

Ehler thanked the district for allowing the youth football program to use their fields.

The committee recommended partnering with an existing non-profit organization to raise funds for the proposed renovations.

Contact Penny at plhummel@berksmontnews.com.

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