New press box adds to school’s first-class facility
In the blink of an eye, the landscape at David Jaynes Field has changed once again.
Gone is the old press box, a fixture at BSHS that went tumbling to the ground below on Saturday, Sept. 16. In its place is the new press box, a more modern, much larger, state-of-the-art improvement on its predecessor.
If the old press box looked like an orange LEGO placed precariously atop the football stadium's east bleachers, the new one looks like the Taj Mahal.
"I think the press box is just icing on the cake," BSHS athletic director Garold Baker said. "It looks awesome. It just makes the whole thing a phenomenal facility."
The "whole thing," of course, includes the stadium's new field turf, new track and upgrades to the sidewalks and bleachers. But every project needs a signature structure and with the addition of the new press box, the BSHS football stadium has found it.
The new press box, a prefab structure that was delivered late last week, brings with it a look that makes the Braves' stadium even more impressive than it already was.
At 40-feet long, the new press box is nearly twice as long as the old one. In addition, it extends out toward the field about six feet wider than the old version.
Inside, the press box is equipped with four separate rooms, making privacy and comfort much easier to obtain, and an interior ladder, making it safer for the coaches filming the games to get onto the roof. Once they're up there, the roof itself is also much more stable than the old platform.
According to Bonner Springs-Edwardsville School District Superintendent Bob Van Maren, the district ordered a press box that was already built because it made more sense.
"It's a lot easier to drop something in than to build it from the ground up," Van Maren said.
In order to put the press box in its place, construction crews had to build a temporary road behind the east stands so a crane could make its way to the location. Van Maren said the district looked into hiring a helicopter for installation, but that didn't work out.
In addition to the temporary road, construction crews had to eliminate two rows of bleachers from the existing stands and install steel work, a new platform and concrete footing to hold the structure in place. One of the most appealing parts of the press box the district chose was that it was a free-standing structure so if the district decides to upgrade the bleachers in the future, the new press box won't be in the way.
In order to comply with rules set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the district also ordered the construction of a ramp off the back of the building. The ramp, which is mostly aluminum with a fence on both sides, makes the new press box wheelchair accessible and costs quite a bit less than the $40,000 price tag for an elevator.
The overall cost of the project was perhaps the most appealing part of the new press box. It came about $150,000 cheaper than originally anticipated.
"The original bid was for $250,000," Van Maren said. "And we're getting this one for about $92,000. It's just going to be a lot nicer and it's just going to add to what we have."
With windows all along the front and one on each side, the new press box is a medium grey color with a thick black band along the top. The words "Home of the Braves" appear in orange on top of the black band.
With the Braves' third home game of the season set for Friday night, Van Maren said the task of tearing the old press box down and getting the new one ready in a span of 10 days was a bit of a risk. But a two-day margin for error and a $500 per day penalty for late delivery helped ensure things went smoothly.
With the new-and-improved press box in place, the final piece of the facility puzzle is a new concessions stand. Initially, BSHS had plans to upgrade its existing concessions stand this year, as well. But as time went on, it discovered that such an undertaking might not be worth the risk.
"We didn't want to get caught in a situation where we had 3,000 people down there and didn't have a concessions stand," Baker said. "What we have is better than nothing at all."