Bleachers reopen following safety concerns

Posted at 11:40 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-24 23:40:55-04

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. -- Vero Beach High School sports fans have one more thing to cheer about inside the Billy Livings Field.

Fighting Indians fans have a newer, safer place to sit and watch their home team.

The bleachers inside the Citrus Bowl have reopened to the fans after being closed for more than six months for a near $2 million reconstruction project.

Indian River County School leaders voted last October to update the old bleachers, following safety and structural concerns.

Cracks could be seen in some of the aging concrete. There were reports that pieces of concrete were falling from the home stands.

Construction crews began rebuilding the bleachers in November, with a goal of reopening them by graduation in June.

The bleachers were accessed for the first time Tuesday night for the spring football game.

“The old bleachers were like home, you know, they had just been here for so long, they were comfortable and it was just like coming home. It was kind of sad when they had to go, but this is beautiful,” said Chris Dean, whose son plays on the team.

Dean says she’s been closely watching the progress of the updates.

Dean’s mother-in-law, Betty Dean, says she’s been to dozens of games. She’s excited to have something new that the school and the city can be proud of.

“It’s probably a grade above a lot of high school stadiums.”

There is still a second phase of the project to update the bathrooms and concession stands.

Graduation for high school seniors will also be held in the stadium next week.