After the board made suggestions for changes to the renovation plans at its June meeting, the architect for the project, David Tench, returned at Tuesday’s meeting to present the new plans reflecting those changes.
“In September or October, we’ll have the final plans, and then in November, we’ll start construction,” Weiner said.
The updates to the design presented Tuesday night included a new section of nine rows of seats at the top of the grandstands. This change was made after the bottom nine rows of seating in the stands were taken out to make the field wider. There will also be a 10-foot tall wall to separate the field and the stands. The wall, common in professional stadiums, will give a more polished look to the stadium, officials say, and widening the field will make it safer.
After taking out rows of seating from the bottom of the stands, the board worried it would not have the required 6,000 seats needed to host a semifinal playoff game.
The current capacity is 5,300, and Tench said permanent seating in the stadium would be reduced to 5,168 24-inch seats with the renovation. The new press box will fit another 320 people, he said, and 600 more temporary seats can be interspersed in the stands.
“This makes it able to host a playoff game,” Tench said.
In the new plans, the press box will be rebuilt, and the True Blue room will be torn down. The new two-story, 80-foot by 20-foot press box will be big enough to host the events that took place in the True Blue room, Weiner said.
The new interior entrance on the north side of the stadium will include a hall of fame wall, with plaques to commemorate athletes who played at the stadium, Tench said.
The price of the stadium is not final, and Weiner said the board is working to whittle it down.
“We’re trying to bring it as close to budget as possible — to $10 million,” Weiner said.
Voters approved the stadium renovation as part of a 1 percent sales tax for school construction projects expected to bring in $55 million over the next four years. The project is supposed to break ground after the last game of the 2014 football season and be finished in time for the 2015 season.
The first $6.5 million of the project will be covered by sales taxes raised to complete the renovation. Beyond that, other sources, such as the building fund, which sits at $4.1 million, could be used.
Right now, the cost estimate for the Northcutt renovations is between $10.2 and $10.3 million.
“My only concern is not knowing what that number is, and we’ve had a lot of discussion on that, so the earlier we can get those details the better,” said board member Jason Waters.
The final plans, and the final cost of the project, will be voted on by the board in late fall at its September or October meeting, Weiner said. Progress depends on the architect finishing the plans, Weiner said.
The board members agreed the new plans for the stadium met all of its requests from previous meetings, and the members did not make any new suggestions.
“It looks great,” Weiner said. “It’s progressing really well.”
The renovation of Northcutt Stadium has been long awaited, and its historic property outlasted the high school that was attached to it. Marietta High School moved to a new location in 2001, and the stadium now sits on the campus of Marietta Middle School.
The new high school was supposed to cost $35 million but went more than $20 million over budget. Several school board members were ousted in the aftermath, and the current board hopes to avoid a similar situation this time around.