Early Wednesday morning that work began.
The crushing jaws of the excavator ripped the steel frame structure to pieces.
Metal twisted and snapped as the bleachers collapsed onto the ground.
The 42-year-old stadium was just too weather worn to fix, according to contractors.
John McIntyre, an engineer with McIntyre and McIntyre Engineering, confirmed the dire state of the structure during a recent college board meeting.
“Basically, I am not sure what is holding this thing up in a good wind,” he said. “I am surprised it is still standing.”
The problem is that while the stands were painted, it wasn’t done properly.
“You are painting over already peeling paint,” McIntyre said. This allowed water to seep into cracks and continue to rust away the metal.
It would cost way too much to piecemeal repairs of the structure and the least costly would be to tear it down and replace it with a fully compliant stadium with covered aluminum seating that is wheelchair accessible per the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide a solid playing field for the newly formed Cougar baseball team along with the Trojan teams from Beeville ISD.
CBC has a 20-year commitment to provide a playing field for the Trojans in exchange for the Cougar softball program using the new softball stadium being built at the A.C. Jones High School campus for its games.
The only good news about the stadium from the inspectors and contractors was, that per inspection, it did not contain any asbestos.
“We must commit to rebuilding,” said one trustee.
The cost of the new stadium will be in the range of $1.5 million to $3 million but the board has asked the contractors to find a good middle ground around $2 million.
It will be designed after the stadium at Texas State University in San Marcos but on a smaller scale with respect to seating and it must be a safe and low maintenance facility.
A new concessions/ admissions building also will be part of the plan. The existing field has a few old oak trees that will remain and be incorporated into the new plans, along with parking facilities.
Money to repay the loan to rebuild the stadium will be available from the college’s existing tax base and will be at a 2.5 percent interest, CBC President Breatriz Espinoza told the board.
Trustee Laura Fisher requested that they be presented with a budget before entering into a tax note.
The college also will look to bring in a variety of events, including concerts, tournaments and possibly a minor league baseball team, to generate future income from the rebuilt, revitalized stadium.
Trustee Jeff Massengill said, “We have to look at it to make it a revenue generating venue.”
Trustee Martha Warner proposed the idea and received agreement that it would be better to have selective board members on a committee to get the “size and scope” of the project outlined, instead of involving the whole board.
Ultimately though, they have until September or October to get the new stadium built and ready for the start of the season.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com. Bruce Harper is the sports editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 123, or at sports@mySouTex.com.