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Bleachers to be torn down at Wimer

ELKINS — In response to Elkins High School’s Wimer Stadium being deemed “unsafe” for spectators, the Randolph County Board of Education has voted to demolish the standing bleachers.

During their regular meeting this week, the BOE unanimously voted to approve Superintendent Debbie Schmidlen’s recommendation to remove the visitor and home bleachers from Wimer Stadium in Elkins.

This recommendation came after the stadium was deemed “unsafe to be occupied by spectators” earlier this year. The public announcement was made in late August, and the fall schedules of both the Elkins High School and Elkins Middle School football teams had to be rearranged, as neither team has been able to play any games at Wimer Stadium this fall.

In the spring, the West Virginia Board of Risk and Insurance Management (BRIM) performed an inspection on Wimer Stadium. Following this inspection, BRIM advised Randolph County Schools officials to bring in an engineer to perform a bleacher inspection. This inspection was performed by FaciliServ. After the inspection, a structural engineer deemed the bleaches unsafe.

The removal of the bleachers will come at no cost to the county, as a local business — Valley Steel Service Inc., located in Dailey — has agreed to remove the metal from the bleachers and other metal from the stadium at no charge.

Schmidlen noted during the BOE meeting that it had been suggested by a parent that the bleachers might be repurposed and used at Tygarts Valley Middle-High School.

“A parent had brought the concern that the bleachers from Wimer could be used with new supports as additional bleachers at Tygarts Valley,” Schmidlen said. “I do not believe that that is a possibility at all.

“Those (bleachers) are going to come down and I do not think it is feasible (to put them back up). If you look at the way they are set up, they wouldn’t fit correctly. And the other thing to consider is that the bleachers have a lot of sponsors engraved on them from when they were fundraised originally.”

Despite no comments or complaints being brought before the board from members of the public, on Friday a hand-written sign was hanging outside the stadium reading, “Coach Wimer, We are sorry that the RCBOE has chosen to dishonor your name, your legacy and your field. – Elkins Football Alumni.”

The sign was removed later in the day Friday.

Wimer Field was dedicated on Sept. 4, 1936. The field was built on land that was once part of the old Elkins Fairgrounds, and was named in honor of Frank Wimer, the longtime EHS coach.

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