North Marion Middle School looking for volunteer effort to install new bleachers

To save money, North Marion School District is seeking volunteers to help dismantle the aging bleachers at the middle school.

North Marion Middle School’s bleachers are the same age as the building — more than 30 years old — and it shows.

District staff said the bleachers used to be able to move and face a different direction, but now it’s a battle to even pull them in and out.

“The mechanisms are worn out on the metal frame so that’s really hard to do,” Superintendent Boyd Keyser said. “It’s a strain to use them; I’m surprised no one has hurt their back getting things out.”

“They’re very unsafe, they’re rickety and have sharp edges,” added Principal Barb Keeton.

Since July 2012, the district has been putting away money through a construction excise tax. Now, the district has collected the $72,000 needed for the new bleachers, which will be installed over winter break.

“This is the first use of that money we’ve had,” Keyser said. “We’ve been saying, ‘Where are we going to come up with that in the budget’ and every year it gets cut. But through (the construction excise tax), we’re required to use money for capital improvements.”

But the removal of the old bleachers would cost nearly $5,000 more.

“I thought it would be better to get a group of volunteers to do it,” said Business Manager Linda Murray. “We did it back in ’06 at the high school and it worked out just fine.”

So, to save the district $4,600, the district is seeking community members to help dismantle the bleachers on Dec. 7 starting at 8 a.m.

“Last time, the volunteer group had it all done in a Saturday, so I don’t think we’ll need anyone to come in on Sunday,” said Murray, who added that district staff will be on hand to look out for safety concerns during the removal project.

For the Dec. 7 removal, volunteers are reminded to wear appropriate shoes and are invited to bring their own tools. Lunch will be provided for those who RSVP with Murray at 503-678-7102 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The metal from the bleachers will go to the district’s vocational programs to be used for projects or to scrap. The wood is being put on, a kind of eBay for government agencies’ surplus items.

“Last year we received $1,600 from that website, so that’s always nice,” Murray said. “And it’s environmentally friendly to put it there instead of throwing things away.”

The new bleachers will come equipped with a wireless remote and wider aisles to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

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