Jun 05, 2023

TSSAA football: Overton High School closes half of stadium bleachers

In response to added high school football stadium inspections over the past week, Metro Nashville Public Schools decided to shut down the home side of Overton High School's football bleachers Wednesday.

The home-side will be closed "for the foreseeable future" according to the school's post on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter. The visitor's side bleachers at Nick Coutras Stadium will be open for Thursday's 7 p.m. game against East Nashville.

Overton's administration is encouraging fans who attend the game to bring lawn chairs.

"Our structural engineers went out (on Tuesday) and looked at the bleachers and this was one where there was an issue of concern," MNPS athletics director Mark North told The Tennessean on Thursday morning. "I don't have all the technical verbiage, but there are some structural concerns that water had gotten into the concrete blocks of the walls and that there's some concern about the structural integrity and they'll work to shore that up, but likely to be replaced."

"Additional reviews by certified contractors and engineers will be made to determine if the structure can be shored up while a more permanent replacement structure can be funded and constructed," according to MNPS communications director Sean Braisted. "Temporary seating is being added at the site to allow for additional seating capacity while these ongoing repairs and reviews are being made."

Metro Schools decided to revisit its facilities inspections at all of its high schools as a precaution after a portion of Beech High School's bleachers at Shackle Island Stadium, in Sumner County, collapsed Aug. 14.

A portion of the home-side bleachers at the former Hillwood High School stadium also will need repairs, according to North. Students who attended Hillwood are now enrolled at James Lawson High School. Hillwood's stadium will be used by H.G. Hill Middle School's football team, but the home side will not be in use until repairs are made.

Braisted said all other Metro Nashville high school stadiums have been inspected and have been cleared for continued use.

Overton originally was scheduled to play Thursday's varsity game at East Nashville, but East Nashville is in the process of putting in artificial turf and the game was moved to Overton, according to Bobcats coach Arcentae Broome.

Overton is 0-2 with four home games remaining, including three straight to end the regular season.

Beech's season opener against Station Camp two weeks ago was moved to White House City Park after a portion of its bleachers collapsed four days before its Week 1 game. Since then, Sumner County has found issues with several Sumner County high school stadiums that will require significant repairs.

Overton's football stadium underwent its own renovations during the summer of 2017. As part of a two-year, $40 million renovation to upgrade almost all of the 14-acre campus at Overton, the 2,500-seat visitor's side bleachers were replaced so that the track around the field could be expanded.

Reach sports writer George Robinson at geo[email protected] and on Twitter @Cville_Sports.