On April 11, the Biddeford School Department received a formal Structural Evaluation report of the bleachers at Waterhouse Field from Weston & Sampson, an independent architect firm hired to evaluate all fields in Biddeford. The report recommended the bleachers and press box be closed until further structural inspection and rehabilitation occurs to address life safety issues and replacement.
“We take our responsibility for the safety of students and the community as paramount and this is a preventative measure we must adhere to,” stated Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Ray. “We understand people may be upset about graduation, as are we, but we are diligently working on alternative plans for it, Spring sporting events, and community events such as La Kermesse. We are thankful for our partnership with the University of New England as they have graciously allowed us to use their fields for all Lacrosse games in the interim.”
Significant findings included damaged frames by impact, supports bearing directly on flat 2x wood pads directly on grade, deteriorating wood and settlement resulting in buckling of several truss members. The report concludes, “Even with favorable results from the structural analysis, substantial rehabilitation would be required and may be cost prohibitive when compared to a complete replacement of the bleachers.”
The School Department and Waterhouse Field Commission have identified similar concerns leading the School Committee to hire the independent architect. Once the full report for all Biddeford fields is complete, we will determine next steps with the City of Biddeford.
The full report provided by Weston & Sampson is available here.