Lenoir-Rhyne fans packed Moretz Stadium for the Bears' homecoming game last season against Limestone in Hickory. David Scearce/Record

The seating on the home side of Moretz Stadium at Lenoir-Rhyne University will be demolished due to issues of structural integrity, according to a press release from the university Monday morning.

The seating will be replaced with temporary bleachers for the 2019 season.

The university contracted Taylor and Viola Structural Engineers of Hickory to review the stadium and identified issues of structural integrity that needed to be addressed immediately, according to the release.

“Moretz Stadium is a special venue and is home to one of the top game-day environments in all of NCAA Division II,” Kim Pate, director of athletics, said in the release.  “The stadium is showing its age, and it’s critical that we preserve the integrity, safety, and long-term viability in support of our student-athletes, community, and dedicated alumni.”

The demolition of the current home-side stands is scheduled to be completed by the end of July, the release said. Aluminum temporary seating will be installed on the home side in time for the start of the football season.

No cost estimates of the work were shared in the release. The university said the plan is to have permanent seats in place for the 2020 season.

The first home game is Sept. 7. Moretz Stadium opened in 1924.

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