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Gentry Stadium construction to begin

Work at Gentry Stadium is expected to begin later this week. Plans call for the demolition of the current stands, pictured above, and the construction of new seating. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Richard Rourk)

By Richard Rourk

Work scheduled to begin at an area landmark on Monday, Dec. 2, was delayed due to inclement weather.

According to Director of Unicoi County Schools John English, crews were set to start the demolition of the stands at Gentry Stadium on Monday.

“The crews were debating about starting today because of the weather, so now the plan is to start sometime this week,” English told The Erwin Record.

Preston Construction was selected to complete construction at Gentry Stadium following a unanimous vote during an October meeting of the Unicoi County Board of Education. Preston Construction’s bid was for $3,154,100 following a few cuts by the school board.

Some of the items that were cut from the original bid were: landscaping projects around the stadium at a savings of $13,870; a walkway from the field house to the practice field at a savings of $25,000; one retaining wall with a savings of $2,850; a new stove and hood for concession stand at a savings of $10,300; a partial deduction of $5,200 for roofing pavers for the press box; and a reduction in seat back seats from 300 down to 180 seats at a cost deduction of $1,520. The board also agreed to not alter the football field at a savings of $98,480.

According to Preston Construction representative Justin Nunnery, the mobilization of equipment and job trailer will take place this week.

“We hope to start on the demolition towards the end of the week depending on the weather,” Nunnery said. “Demolition of site and grading will take place this month. Concrete retaining walls and press box foundations will come next.”

While demolition is scheduled, the construction portion of the Gentry Stadium project is still being finalized.

“The project is still in the submittal and shop drawing phase and as those are approved we will be able to determine a schedule for the construction of the new buildings and grandstand seating,” Nunnery said.

According to Nunnery, Preston construction will be working with multiple subcontractors.

“There will be other subcontractors involved in the demolition and construction of this project,” Nunnery said. “Preston Construction will also be self-performing certain parts of the project as well. A few of our major subcontractors are GCS for site work, SB White for plumbing/mechanical, and Hodge Electrical.”

English confirmed that the Gentry Stadium upgrades should be complete in time for the kickoff of the Unicoi County High School Blue Devils 2020 football season.