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The doors to the Derby High School gymnasium closed nearly two months ago for bleacher replacement. 

Now reaching the midpoint of the summer, the project is nearing its completion date and will be ready when school starts in August. 

USD 260 director of finance and operations Joe Dessenberger said the district saved money during the project by handling different parts of the remodel in-house. 

The district saved $15,000 on demolition costs while also using a district employee for electrical work. 

“We were also able to sell all the old bleacher scrap for in excess of $16,000,” he said. “We had about a $30,000 turnaround.” 

The new seating capacity is roughly 1,800 seats and is approximately 180 seats less than the previous setup. 

The restroom/concession stand that sits between the high school tennis courts and turf field is also nearing its completion. Roof and block walls are almost done and concrete sidewalks are coming shortly. 

“They should be able to pour concrete at any time depending on whether Mother Nature behaves or not,” Dessenberger said. “… All the plumbing, electricity is in and now it’s a matter of some paint and facial work above the concession stand.”

The new Derby soccer complex, which will be built at the site of old Bulldog Stadium, is still on plan to be completed by the upcoming boys’ season in August.

Dessenberger said rain has put the project slightly behind, but they are still within the window of completing it due to rain days that were accounted for in the initial timeline.

“We will be laying the sod for the field in the next seven to eight working days,” Dessenberger said on June 14. “We need a couple of months of the Bermuda getting nice and hot and rooting into the ground.”

During the site plan review for the stadium, Dessenberger said the city found an old easement for a street that ran through the area.

“It doesn’t look like we’ve been doing much over there, but our contractors have assured us that we have the green light,” he added.

One change to this summer’s renovation schedule is the parking lots west of Panther Stadium. Construction on Woodlawn put a damper on hopes of completing the project ahead of the upcoming school year. 

“We quickly realized that with the [street project] going on, we’d completely box Derby Middle School off from all sides if we did that project,” Dessenberger said. “When we were planning our summer project, we didn’t know the city was planning to close Woodlawn.” 

All remodeling for Panther Stadium will take place following the upcoming football season. 

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