Broncs stadium

Jackson Hole High School’s “Black Hole” student section celebrates during the Oct. 1 homecoming game against Green River. The school district is looking to build a new grandstand and press box by the next season’s first kickoff.

William T. McIntosh Stadium could have new bleachers by the Broncs’ next home game.

With the football team playing in the state championship Friday, Teton County School District No. 1 is eager to make sure fans can continue to support the team — and all the sporting events hosted at McIntosh — for years to come.

That means building a new, expanded grandstand and press box that will bring the structure up to safety and code requirements.

District Board of Trustees on Wednesday authorized funds so materials could be ordered for the project, which is part of a broader facilities strategic plan that includes a new Bronc Achievement Center and shorter-term projects like a security vestibule at Wilson Elementary.

Stadium upgrades rose to the top of the list because of safety concerns.

“It’s important that we green light this and get this going,” Trustee Bill Scarlett said at the Wednesday board meeting. “It makes you think twice about being a trustee with that liability, watching [the bleachers] bounce by about 8 inches. It’s just a matter of time before that thing crumbles.”

National Recreation Systems recommended building a new structure this summer after completing a review that found several code violations.

A ballpark estimate sets the cost of the improvements at $650,000, which could come out of the district’s “Major Maintenance’’ fund (current balance: $1.67 million). The district is also hoping to receive community donations.

Contractor G.E. Johnson Construction has already offered to donate the labor.

The new bleachers would stretch between the 20-yard lines, doubling their capacity to meet the needs of the current high school census. They would also have built-in storage to replace the current “various sheds” approach, Superintendent Gillian Chapman said at the meeting.

She’d like to see a contract in place by December so that materials arrive by next May to start construction. Current supply chain issues are expected to impact the project.

High construction costs could also mean Chapman is forced to return to the board with an over-budget bid next month, something Trustee Janine Teske worried would halt the project, although it’s considered high priority.

“It’s a safety issue,” Trustee Betsy Carlin said. “We shouldn’t have football games next year if we don’t do this.”

Contact Evan Robinson-Johnson at 732-5901 or ERJ@jhnewsandguide.com.

Evan Robinson-Johnson covers issues residents face on a daily basis, from smoky skies to housing insecurity. Originally from New England, he has settled in east Jackson and avoids crowds by rollerblading through the alleyways.

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