DANVERS — When one thinks of a hurdle inside a high school athletic field house, a heavy set of bleachers normally does not come to mind.
However, one of the biggest stumbling blocks officials are dealing with as the $71 million Danvers High renovation moves forward are new bleachers that have proved too heavy for use with the new field house floor.
“When the new bleachers arrived at the site and were put together, when we went to use them, we found that when you set them up, they caused depressions in the floor,” Department of Public Works Director David Lane told selectmen Tuesday. The newly renovated field house opened in January, and the bleachers, which can hold 1,000 spectators, arrived a few weeks after that.
Officials investigated and spoke with the flooring manufacturer and found “they are too heavy for the existing floor.”
“There was a whole lot of safeguards in place to prevent that,” Lane said, but the coordination among project officials somehow broke down. “So we ended up with two things that don’t work together.”
Lane said officials are working to solve the problem, investigating whether the floor or the bleachers need to be replaced.
“Different bleachers is the first choice,” said Lane, who said they are looking at another type of bleacher to see if it will work with the new floor. Officials have taken the added step of having a private testing company look at the issue.
If the alternative bleachers don’t work, the field house might need a different floor that can hold more weight.
“We need to make a long-term fix for that; we can’t have bleachers that are going to work for two years,” Lane said. “After we get the problem fixed, then we can look at responsibility for it.”
The movable bleachers cost about $250,000, said Town Manager Wayne Marquis, but he said the town will not be on the hook if they have to be replaced. It has yet to be determined who might be responsible.
“The way I see it, the town of Danvers isn’t going to be spending any additional money,” Marquis said.
Selectmen Chairman Bill Clark said Tuesday that the solution in the past was to use an air-ride bleacher system that would allow the stands to ride off the floor as they are being moved.
“We may end up with an air-ride system under the bleachers,” said Lane, who said there is also a problem of what may happen when the bleachers are fully loaded.
“Too bad,” Clark said.
Lane plans to report on bleacher options at the next Design Construction Advisory Committee meeting, which is Friday.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.