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Football returns to Oak Harbor

All remaining home games for the Oak Harbor High School football team will be played at Memorial Stadium.

Instead of watching the game from the stadium, football fans will now watch the home games on the opposite side of the field and sit on portable, aluminum bleachers that the Oak Harbor School District is bringing in from a variety of sources.

The school district has a 500-seat aluminum bleacher and it is leasing out two additional 500-seat bleachers.

“We’re pretty confident that this is a good solution,” Rick Schulte, superintendent of the Oak Harbor School District, said in an interview Friday afternoon.

The leased bleachers are going to cost the school district $17,000 for the entire season.

Schulte said he doesn’t yet know where the school district is going to draw the money from. He added that if the football team doesn’t play any home games, the school district stood to lose approximately $20,000 in ticket and concession revenue.

In addition to the 1,500 seats, the school district is trying to get an additional 500-seat bleacher from the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station to give the field a temporary seating capacity of approximately 2,000 people.

During the remaining home football and soccer games, the stadium seating will remain closed except for the press box.

People attending girls soccer games originally could use the stadium bleachers — because smaller crowds — but Schulte said it would be safer if they also sat in the temporary bleachers.

The football team has already felt the impact of the stadium closure when they beat Mount Vernon 40-6 in a game played at Coupeville.

Memorial Stadium was closed earlier this month when initial results of an engineering survey showed significant deficiencies in the stadium’s structure that could threaten the safety of spectators.

Schulte said finding a quick solution was the highest priority and that the school district hasn’t started looking into the long-term future of the stadium.

He expects a final written report about the condition of the stadium around the middle of October.

In the meantime, football fans can enjoy Oak Harbor’s first real home game, Friday, Sept. 26 when the Wildcats take on Arlington. The game begins at 7 p.m.

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