The Journal Gazette
Thursday, December 02, 2021 1:00 am

Repair of South Side bleachers to top $100,000

Pickup driver fled after crashing through fence early Sunday

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Community Schools expects a high price tag to fix the damage a pickup caused at South Side High School.

Police were called to the school, 3601 S. Calhoun St., about 1:40 a.m. Sunday because of a crash involving a driver who left the scene, a police report said.

Upon arrival, an officer found a GMC Sierra stuck under the metal bleachers along Clinton Street, the report said, noting the vehicle had driven through the chain link fence.

The officer further observed “tire tracks going off the road on the east side of Clinton Street and back off the road to the west side and into the fence,” the report said.

This isn't the first time the bleachers have been hit. They were installed when the stadium was built in the mid-1990s, FWCS spokeswoman Krista Stockman said, and they've been struck at least twice since then. “Each time previously, they could be repaired,” Stockman said by email. “This time, the north half of the bleachers are damaged enough they can't be repaired.”

Replacement will likely exceed $100,000, said Stockman, who expects the issue will come before the school board as an emergency project.

“We hope to have new bleachers installed prior to spring sports season,” she said, “but with supply chain issues, we're not sure if that will be possible. If not, we will still have 400 seats remaining on the visitor side.”

FWCS has replaced various sections of the fence along Clinton Street about every two years because of vehicular damage, Stockman said.

The board last approved a set of emergency projects Oct. 25. Needs included a $35,428 cafeteria wall repair at Adams Elementary School. Darren Hess, facilities director, told the board a delivery truck caused the damage, and the district reclaimed costs through the company's insurance.

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