New indoor bleachers coming to Shepherd Middle School in Ottawa

Original bleachers have been replaced, new bleachers expected by late August

Ottawa Shepherd Middle School

Ottawa’s Shepherd Middle School is preparing for the installation of indoor bleachers this summer, with completion expected by late August.

Marc Tabor, OES maintenance director, said the idea to replace the old bleachers has been in discussion for the past four to five years, with the primary motivation to replace them being safety reasons and to remain complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Safety was the primary catalyst behind replacing the original bleachers,” Tabor said.

Along with safety, the original bleachers were more than 50 years old and no longer met regulatory standards, prompting the district to make the switch once recent budget allocations allowed for it, Tabor said.

The new bleachers will now meet ADA guidelines, ensuring accessibility for everyone with features such as more handrails and shorter steps. In addition, the new bleachers will be motorized, unlike the old ones that had to be physically pushed.

The seating capacity will remain unchanged.

Tabor said the old bleachers have been removed from the gym, with hope that the new bleachers will be in by mid- to late August, and ideally before school starts. He emphasized, however, that there’s a possibility they won’t be in by then, and it’s all dependent on shipping logistics.

“It’s going to be kind of touch-and-go on whether or not they’ll be installed by the time school starts,” Tabor said. “The hope is that they’ll be in by the third week of August.”

Despite potential delays, Tabor remains optimistic about a timely installation. He said once the bleachers are shipped, even if it’s during school, it does not take long for them to be installed. Plans already are in place to minimize disruption to the school day.

“Kids can be outside for gym class until it’s finished,” Tabor said.

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