Temporary bleachers will accommodate fans seated on the home side of the field during Lenoir-Rhyne University football games this fall. That's because an inspection of the facility in Hickory, N.C., found structural integrity issues with existing seating.
The university contracted with Taylor and Viola Structural Engineers to review Moretz Stadium, which was last updated during a large renovation project in 1965, when temporary bleachers were replaced with permanent seating, among other upgrades to the venue. Temporary seating will again be the solution when the season opens Sept. 7, with permanent seating to follow at a later date.
The Division II school will contract with a national company to install temporary aluminum bleachers with a minimum of 3,000 seats on the home side of the stadium, according to a university release. As reported by the Hickory Daily Record, the field will still be open for use throughout the summer for camps and other events. The bleachers are blocked off and everyone is asked to stay on one side of the fence and away from the home bleachers. The university received approval for the demolition project July 8.
“Moretz Stadium is a special venue and is home to one of the top game-day environments in all of NCAA Division II,” Kim Pate, Lenoir-Rhyne's director of athletics, stated in the release. “The stadium is showing its age, and it’s critical that we preserve the integrity, safety and long-term viability in support of our student-athletes, community, and dedicated alumni.”
Bears Club reserved seating will continue to be offered to season ticket holders with modifications to accommodate variations to the seating plan for the temporary bleacher layout. Attendance is not expected to be impacted by the temporary disruption.
“As we celebrate our 100-year anniversary of football and our 10-year of men’s and women’s lacrosse, this circumstance presents a timely opportunity to build on the storied tradition of LR athletics Between the Bricks,” Pate said in the release. “We remain committed to our traditions of tailgating and making the game-day experience a destination for our community and visitors.”