The Logan County Board of Education on Tuesday approved the hiring of The Thrasher Group as the architect firm to design new the bleachers that will be installed at the Logan High School football stadium.

LOGAN — The Logan County Board of Education on Tuesday approved the hiring of The Thrasher Group as the architects for the replacement of the Logan High School football stadium bleachers, as well as the bid for purchase and installation of seating at the Logan High School baseball stadium.

The Thrasher Group, based in Charleston, was one of three architect firms that bid on the project and were interviewed by a committee of six. After consideration of the firms interviewed, the committee recommended Thrasher as the architect for the project with a negotiated fee to be agreed on.

With the board’s Tuesday night approval, Superintendent Patricia Lucas said the firm can send a team in almost immediately. The firm will come up with several designs for the bleachers that the LCBOE can choose from, and once one is picked, the project will be bid to a contractor.

The LCBOE moved to build new bleachers at the stadium on Oct. 22 after an engineer’s September evaluation revealed significant problems with the structural integrity of the existing bleachers, which are at least 60 years old. According to Logan County Schools Director of Operational Support Mark Adkins, the new stadium will seat around 3,000 people, a requirement for a school ranked in the WVSSAC AA classification.

The LCBOE is so far ahead of schedule in the timeline, as approval for the project itself had to take place by Jan. 1 to make sure the new bleachers would be built before next football season, according to what they were told during the engineer’s report on Sept. 4. Still, some board members, such as Jeremy Farley, have concerns about the timing.

“By us approving this tonight to go ahead and give the go-ahead to this company to start, I feel much better, because that’s at least six weeks ahead of time of what they told us at that (Sept. 4) board meeting,” said LCBOE Vice President Dr. Pat Joe White.

“And I will say I agree with you, but this board has also, every project that we’ve been involved with, has ran behind schedule,” Farley said to some laughter. “That’s why I’m asking about the timeline because everyone sitting up here, as well as in the community, is expecting for football to be played at Logan High School – both high school, middle school, midget league, soccer and every other sport that’s there – and I want to make sure that we understand that there needs to be a timeline in place and that we’re moving ahead on schedule.”

Board members expressed other concerns as well. President Debbie Mendez said she worries that the crews may have to enter the actual football field at some point, which could damage the turf, and member Barry Mullins said soil erosion at the backside of the bleachers might cause issues.

“That riverbank side where that is soft ... you’re going to have a problem there,” Mullins said. “You wait and see.”

White said when the firm comes in to study the facility, reinforcement of the backside area may be required. Mendez said she’d like to know exactly how the construction crews are going to avoid the field, and to have a replacement agreement in place if they must get on the field.

“If they do have to get on our field and destroy it in some way, will they replace it or whatever?” Mendez asked. “I don’t know how that works, but, you know, we need to have something in there that … they may have to get on there. You never know, but I just want that to be covered in that to so that, in case, something does happen.”

“I’ll expect the bid or plan will probably address that,” White said. “I mean, it’s pretty obvious you can’t chew up the football field.”

Just to make sure, all members agreed to have the firm come in to speak with them after the assessment is completed.

The LCBOE also approved the bid for the purchase and installation of seating at the Logan High School baseball stadium from Maffei Strayer Furnishings for $48,200. Board members said the current seating at the baseball stadium is also in excess of 60 years old.

Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196.