Tips for School Administrators
Over the years, the Bleacherman has worked with many school administrators during hundreds of bleacher installations. While every project is different, here are some of the things to be aware of (and in some cases, avoid), if you are considering replacing or restoring your telescopic bleachers.
• Your old, worn bleachers are not “junk” They may look in rough shape, with damaged, broken and beat-up wood seats. They might not open and close smoothly. However, the bleacher’s understructure (the metal framework that holds the seats and floorboards) in most cases can be restored to “as-new” condition for a fraction of the cost of replacing with brand new bleachers. Often, older bleachers are better quality (with heavier gauge steel, more support columns), than the new bleachers being offered today. Don’t discard the equity you have in your old bleachers!
• Don’t fall into the “specifications trap” If your new-bleacher installer offers to provide specifications for the bidding process, be aware that the specifications may be written to favor the interest of the manufacturer/installer -- NOT the school. Find out what guarantees are provided, in writing. Are your new bleachers guaranteed against sagging? Are components such as motor drives guaranteed? Beware of loopholes that void the warranty, such as students climbing on the closed or partially opened bleachers. If you see signs on the bleachers like the two examples below, be advised that these bleachers do not have the Century Design® “no-sag” system. Such bleachers are likely to sag, and will require recurring repair charges in the future.
• Safety is everyone’s job – and the school administration’s responsibility Keeping kids safe at school requires the team effort of the teachers, custodial team, and maintenance department. If, God forbid, an injury should occur on or around the bleachers, the school administration will be held responsible for allowing an unsafe situation. That’s when the hard questions are asked. Were the bleachers in compliance with all safety codes? Does the school have a policy about bleacher safety, and was the policy followed? Do maintenance records show the bleachers were in good repair and safe to use?
Accidents waiting to happen! Whether it's poor housekeeping under the bleachers, missing or broken plastic seats, safety rails that don't meet code requirements, or broken bleacher boards, unsafe conditions like these pose a hazard to students and spectators.