Citing Safety Concerns, State College Closes East Bleachers in Memorial Field
The east section of the bleachers in Memorial Field, also known as the home side, will be closed indefinitely because of safety concerns, State College Area School District officials announced on Monday.
District officials were notified on Monday afternoon of a report from recent geotechnical studies of the ground under the entirety of Memorial Field.
According to a news release, the report identifies underground instability beneath a portion of the home bleachers which created the safety concern. When district officials met with local structural and geotechnical engineers to discuss the recent testing results, the decision was made in the best interest of and for the safety and well-being of all involved to close the entire home (east) section of the bleachers.
The reports identify that all other aspects of the stadium, including the playing surface and west bleachers, are safe to use by student-athletes, officials and fans, according to the district.
As of Monday, the district plans to continue hosting as many scheduled events as possible utilizing only the west bleacher seating. However, a final decision regarding varsity football games will be released as soon as possible, district officials said.
According to the news release, in August district officials discovered some movement around the drainage grate leading to the existing sinkhole under the east bleachers at Memorial Field.
Under the direction of a structural engineer, the district had contractors brace and shore up the foundations where the ground shifted. In preparation for pending site work on Memorial Field scheduled to begin later this year, district officials contracted for additional and extensive testing of the subsurface conditions.
The local engineers will be providing the Board of Directors with a report at their regularly scheduled meeting next Monday, the release said.