USC takes a seat, or two, or three…
Eight hundred of the 64,111 Metrodome seats, from the soon to be demolished Metrodome, will find a new home in the city of Wells.
On Jan. 11, the United South Central School Board approved the permanent seating proposal along with accepting a generous donation from Wells Concrete.
“If we would have gotten new benches it would have been the same price compared to the novelty Metrodome seats,” board member Jon Feist explains. “We got a discount rate of $40 per chair. It will create more comfortable seating for the audience members. We still have some details to work out with the seats, but I can say they will stay the same color. We were going to have blue seats regardless.”
Wells Concrete will be donating an entire precast college stadium-type seating structure, estimated to be worth $250,000 to the new USC school, according to Feist.
Even though the USC School Board rejected a similar proposed college stadium-type seating structure on Oct. 15, Wells Concrete did not pull their initial $75,000 donation of products to the new school building they simply made a better offer.
“We wanted something that generations of people can look back at and be impressed by,” president of Wells Concrete Dan Juntenen says. “It will show people that Wells Concrete really cares about the community and let people know we are committed.”
Initially, the primary reasons why the board did not agree to the structure was because of the extra costs and placement required, according to superintendent Jerry Jensen.
“The board was concerned about other costs which would be needed in addition to the $75,000 in products regarding the stadium seating,” Jensen says.
Also, Wells Concrete initially envisioned the structure to go on the east side of the athletic fields, not the west side like the board previously decided.
“We would have had to move our fields to accommodate the new seating arrangements,” Jensen explained. “The track is already done and at this stage of the layout, it would be difficult and expensive to redo.”
According to Jensen, the new generously donated structure will be on the west side of the football field, facing east.
The cost to the district for this project is approximately $88,000 more than the option of moving existing bleachers to a new site, according to Feist. However, with this option, the district acquires much needed amenities they would otherwise have to invest in the near future, at a cost which could potentially exceed the $88,000 the district is choosing to spend now.
The final figure might end up being lower because of possible additional business contributions.
“In addition to seating and press box, the structure provides the district with restrooms, concessions, athletic storage and workspace for the buildings and grounds department,” Feist explains.
Juntenen knows what an extraordinary opportunity this was for him and his company to be involved in such a big project.
“It is something we will really have fun with,” he says. “It’s not often we get to work on a project like this, which will touch so many people.”
Jensen also realizes the significance of such a donation and admits he was taken off guard.
“My initial reaction was somewhat surprised, but we have been working on this for quite a while now,” Jensen says. “We have to keep reminding ourselves regarding the magnitude of this donation and Wells Concrete’s generosity. It is huge and we really appreciate it.”