Gahanna Lincoln High School fans will have a new home side and bleachers to cheer on the Lions teams next month.
Athletics director Justin Sanford said the completion date for the new stands and press box is Aug. 4, with Aug. 11 set as a tentative date to host "meet-the-football-team night."
Sanford said the cost of the $700,000 bleachers is being financed entirely by Gahanna athletics donors, partners and a personal seat-license option. He said the district's pay-to-participate is allocated toward athletics facilities, but he's confident those funds wouldn't have to be used.
The new bleachers will accommodate 3,200 fans on the west side of the field that will become the new home side.
Sanford said the bleachers would increase the capacity at the stadium by 2,000 seats, for a total of 6,700 seats. He said the Lions' home side was on the west side of the field in the 1950s, but that changed when the bleachers on the east side of the field were built in 1969 or 1970.
Supporters of Gahanna athletics may purchase seats in a reserve section that will have chair backs.
About 80 of the 175 seats already have been sold, he said. The cost is $150 per seat and includes season tickets.
Anyone interested in purchasing a reserve seat should call Sanford's office at 614-479-1560.
The Gahanna Planning Commission in May approved a certificate of appropriateness for the site plan for Gahanna Jefferson Public Schools for the bleachers and a press box for the stadium at 140 S. Hamilton Road.
Michael Blackford, deputy director of planning and development, said the bleachers would have a footprint of 13,066 square feet. He said the parking could be accommodated on the school property, including the spaces at Clark Hall.
The press box's size will be 8 by 24 feet, with a vinyl-siding exterior in the center of the stands. A desert-sand color will match the press box on the other side of the field, he said.
Blackford said the bleachers would span about 260 feet in length, with reserved seating (chairs with backs and arm rests) on the left and bleacher-style seating on the right.
The press box will be able to accommodate 10 people.
The bleachers are being constructed by Dave York Sports of Louisville, Ky.
"They have done a great job so far," Sanford said.
The business also built the bleachers in Reynoldsburg and at Huber Heights in Dayton.
Sanford said many individuals have committed to contributing $1,000 annually for the 15-year life of the loan that's through Heartland Bank.
"We're pleased and fortunate to have that support," he said.
Sanford said the stadium is used almost year-round, excluding December, January and February.
"Football runs through November," he said. "In March, there's track and lacrosse."
He said the new seating capacity also would give Gahanna an opportunity to host more playoff games.
"All the businesses love when we host playoffs," he said. "I think it's a win-win for the community. The church (across the street) loves it because they charge for parking. A lot of people benefit from it. It's helpful to local businesses."
The Lions home opener will be Aug. 29 against Huber Heights Wayne High School.