Board of Education member Walter F. Campbell said it would have been only a matter of time before tragedy might have struck.
His theory on the condition of the football field bleachers may have been proven correct over the summer, as crews dismantled the old home team side bleachers before installing new ones.
"As they were taking them down, they snapped," said Campbell, explaining that the steel girders that were responsible for carrying the load of hundreds of football fans nearly disintegrated. "In another year or two, we would've had a catastrophic situation on our hands."
The $625,200 project saw the installation of new bleachers for the home team side that will greet fans when the Dragons take the field this season.
The visitor's side bleachers "aren't in bad shape," Campbell, who has become the go-to board members on facilities projects, said.
Other improvement projects that got off the ground over the summer include the installation of a new track at , as well as a refurbishing of the school's auditorium.
"The kids were running in the woods, near cars," said Campbell, of the Mustangs track team during practices. "We had to have that taken care of. When they built the thing umpteen years ago, they didn't put a solid base underneath," rendering it useless.
The track project is about done, except for striping which will be painted once the weather improves. The auditorium should be completed by November.
Brick Memorial's main gym was also refurbished with a new floor over the summer. The old one was buckling. Crews are now smoothing out the surface in order to complete the project.
Back at Old Brick, many of the lockers in the locker rooms – some of which have been there since the school opened – were replaced. The bathrooms were all restored to working order, Campbell said, and exterior doors and windows have been replaced, with more slated to be replaced this fall.
BTHS science students will also have new labs in which to work this year. The lab upgrade project – which will see the renovation of three first-floor science classrooms and the expansion of two small upper floor rooms – should be mostly done by late fall, said Campbell. The upper floor rooms could take a bit longer, he said.
The board allocated $2.4 million last spring for the science room renovation plan.
At both high schools, gym lighting has been upgraded to improve energy efficiency.
received a new main roof, while Lake Riviera students should have a new locker room when they return from Thanksgiving break later this fall.
Campbell said he and the other board members prioritized projects, working on the "liabilities first."