REFUGIO – Fixing Jack Sportsman Bobcat Stadium will cost a minimum of about $500,000 and possibly more than $7.5 million to replace the 65-year old structure, the Refugio Independent School District’s Board of Trustees learned at a recent meeting.
Jay Boynton with Boynton Williams & Associates who has been helping the school district discover its options for addressing safety concerns at the stadium and overseeing repair projects in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, gave an overview of possibilities during the RISD school board meeting on July 23.
“If you renovate the existing stadium, at a minimum you will have to do patching and spalling work and also replace the guardrail around the entire stadium,” Boynton told trustees. Additional renovations could include adding protective coating to the stadium, changing fencing around the facility and also upgrading lighting.
However, the life of stadiums such as this is 50 to 75 years, experts have said, and trustees have previously expressed concerns that if the minimal repairs are made, the school board will find itself addressing similar concerns in the near future.
“With a new stadium, the project cost would include a new press box and an elevator,” Boynton said. The 1,500 foot press box would be more than three times the size of the current pressbox, he added, and the elevator is required in order to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
Boynton said in addition to the traditional bench seats which would be located on both the home and visitor sides of the stadium, there is an option to include 400 chairback seats for donors that would add about $200,000 to the stadium project.
“I don’t know if there’s a need for 400 donor seats or not,” Boynton said.
Also included in the cost is a locker room at the stadium which would serve seventh and eighth grade students, and would also be the dressing room for both visiting teams and officials.
The cost would also encompass a bus barn area for up to eight buses and fencing around the stadium.
“With a new stadium you’ll also need additional handicapped parking — 30 spaces — to meet ADA requirements, and that’s a big ticket item,” Boynton said.
Asked about possible upgrades to the track, Boynton said that might also cost up to $1 million.
He said the stands for visiting fans could be reduced in capacity to save some money.
Two different companies gave Boynton cost projections for building a new stadium.
“I looked at their proposals and their prices are nearly identical — only about a $30,000 difference,” he said.
A Houston company which made similar repairs to a football stadium in Port Lavaca sent representatives to look at Refugio’s stadium both in January and over the summer and gave its assessment of needed repairs.
The board took no action determining whether to make either renovations or repairs and will decide on the matter at a later date. Because of the stadium’s condition, the Bobcats would not be able to host home football games for the 2020 season.
“You’ve given us something to consider — something to chew on,” board President Andy Rocha said.
Jeff Osborne is the editor of the County Press and can be reached at 361-526-2397 or at josborne@mySouTex.com.