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High School Bleachers Failed, Town Seeks Replacement

The Milford Community Fields Committee, through its project manager, is trying to get a contractor to replace the new aluminum bleachers. Some of the new bleachers bent by October. The town says students stood on them; the contractor blames vandals.

Some of the new aluminum bleachers at Milford High School failed before the end of the first football season, and town officials want the entire lot replaced.

The aluminum planks failed in the student section. Some of them bent in the middle when students stood, or jumped, on them. The subcontractor, in an email, attributed the cause of the problem to vandalism, and the town's decision to go with a lighter-weight plank.

Members of the town's Community Fields Committee disagree, saying kids in every high school in the country stand, and jump, on bleachers during games. And they want the planks replaced, and installed, per the specifications.

In this project, the specifications were based on a product manufactured by E & D Specialty Stands.

"All it is is kids who are standing on the bleachers," said Selectman Brian Murray, who is chairman of the Community Fields Committee.

In this case, E & D told the town's project manager, in an email, that the aluminum planks were not their specified size.

The subcontractor said the bleacher seats met the specifications for the project; the manufacturer states they did not, the town's project manager Scott Landgren, of CDM Smith, told the Community Fields Committee.

Subcontractor Dant Clayton Corp., of Louisville, KY, replaced the damaged seating, at their cost. But town officials say they now want the entire set of new seats replaced, because "who's to say five years from now the student section won't be down at the other end?," Murray said.

The town will seek the replacement, and if all else fails, Murray said, will go to arbitration.

The $2,465 cost for replacing the damaged seating, intially sought by Dant Clayton for reimbursement, has since been withdrawn. "The school may want to be on the lookout for more vandalism as I am convinced that was what caused the damage," Matt Dougherty, the New England district manager for Dant Clayton, wrote in an email. "It probably happened when no one was around but it also could have happened after the end of the game when most of the fans had left the stand."

Dougherty said Monday the project specified a lower-weight seat board. "We gave the town exactly what the architect designed."

Only the home bleachers were newly installed, The visitors stands are not affected.

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