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In a recent meeting with the Cleveland City Schools Board of Education, Cleveland Middle School principal Mike Collier, left, reviews costs and specs concerning the proposed purchase of portable bleachers for the middle school's ballfields.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Portable aluminum bleachers may be on tap for Cleveland Middle School's combined track and athletic field.

The bleachers will be one of the last key pieces to creating a "full-functioning stadium" for the field, said Mike Collier, principal of the 15-year-old school.

In a recent meeting, Collier discussed the proposed project costs and specifications with members of the city school board.

The preliminary cost for purchasing and installing four bleacher units, each measuring 33 feet wide and capable of seating 184 spectators, was estimated at $65,500. Of that, $7,000 would go toward installation expenses. Officials also estimated it would take an additional $20,000 to conduct preparatory groundwork.

Collier praised the 10-row bleacher units, which are subdivided by middle aisles and enclosed on the rear and sides by chain-link fencing.

"This right here is a better bleacher," Collier said. "It's a longer length and custom-made, pretty much."

Board members discussed the possibility of purchasing a fifth bleacher unit that would be dedicated to band and student use.

"You're never going to have too much space," said board member Dawn Robinson.

Based on pricing of the four-unit proposal, officials estimated that a fifth section could add another $16,000 to the project, for a an estimated total of about $100,000.

Board members said they would consider the project during the strategic facilities planning process in February.

"We're pretty committed to this because it's been 15 years coming, and you have waited a long time," Robinson said. "A lot of parents have sat in soggy-bottom pants or lawn chairs to watch ball games."

The money is available to handle the bleacher proposal, depending how the board wishes to allocate funding for facility projects, said Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of Cleveland City Schools.

In other business, the board heard an update on the construction of Cleveland High School's Raider Arena, which is scheduled to be completed in March.

Wood flooring is expected to arrive next week, said Cason Conn, project manager for Tri-Con Construction.

Once the flooring has had a chance to acclimate to the climate-controlled facility and humidity levels have been tested and approved, installation of the floors will begin, he said.

In the meantime, crews are wrapping up the last work associated with the ceiling, such as ductwork, lighting and painting, architectural consultant Brian Templeton said.

The next big piece of the project will be the installation of bleachers, which is expected to start in January and finish in mid-February.

With normal weather, exterior paving and concrete projects are planned for January, Conn said.

Raider Arena replaces the high school's landmark Raider Dome, which was closed in December 2013 and demolished the following summer.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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