Temporary bleachers are in place at Lenoir-Rhyne University’s football stadium — just in time for the first game of the season on Sept. 7.

The temporary bleachers are needed because an inspection found issues with home side concrete stands in July, according to previous Hickory Daily Record articles. That led to demolition of the home side stands in Moretz Stadium and the installation of temporary bleachers.

The bleachers now have a seating capacity of 3,306, according to a press release from Lenoir-Rhyne University.

The estimated cost of the project including the demolition and the temporary seating was $585,000 when calculated in July, according to a Lenoir-Rhyne release. That number has not been updated or changed. The final cost of the project has yet to be finalized as of Aug. 27, according to Jeremy Zalacca, assistant athletic director for athletic communications for Lenoir-Rhyne.

The temporary bleachers feature 10 sections with four middle sections reserved for Bears Club members and corporate sponsors. Access points include ramps on both sides and stairs along the back of every few sections and ADA access has been improved with a section at the top of the stands for access and ease of view.

The brick wall that had previously served to encase the stands was retained and helps preserve the look and feel that fans and student-athletes have come to appreciate when playing Between the Bricks, the release said.

“We are appreciative of everyone involved with this project who worked quickly to address the demolition and installation of temporary bleachers,” Kim Pate, vice president of athletics at Lenoir-Rhyne, said. “This was certainly a tight turnaround and we couldn’t have pulled it off as smoothly if it were not for great partners like David E. Looper Construction and our friends at InProduction. I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from our coaches, alumni and members of the community on how the temporary bleachers turned out with most people stating that you’d hardly know they were temporary.”

The temporary bleachers will be in place for the duration of the 2019 football season. The development of a more comprehensive design plan for permanent seating and other key stadium renovations are underway with the goal of permanent seating being installed by summer 2020, the release said.

The season opener for the Bears football team is set for Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. against St. Augustine’s at Moretz Stadium.

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